Good news! The SWIMS Act has officially been re-introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.); along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
What is the SWIMS Act?
The Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings (SWIMS) Act (H.R. 7145/S. 3694) will end the future capture and breeding of orcas, beluga whales, pilot whales, and false killer whales in the USA. The act will essentially begin to phase out the ability to keep these species captive for public display.
How exactly would the bill accomplish this?
The bill will amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) to prohibit the taking, importation, or exportation of these species for the purpose of public display. It will also amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prohibit breeding these species for public display. You can read the full bill text here.
If a captive individual has the opportunity to be retired to a sanctuary or released, would this bill prevent them from being moved?
As we strive for an end to the public display of captive cetaceans, our hope for individuals currently held in captivity is to either rehabilitate and release (if eligible) or retire them to a sanctuary where they can live the rest of their lives in a more natural setting. Therefore, we’re happy to say that this bill will allow exemptions for individuals being transported to a sanctuary setting or released to the wild.
Why is this bill important?
Perhaps one of the most important things humans have learned from keeping cetaceans in captivity is that they do not belong there. These highly intelligent, social, empathetic animals have demonstrated to us over and over again that life in a tank is unsuitable for them. Regardless of whether they were born in captivity or taken from the wild, orcas, beluga whales, pilot whales, and false killer whales are still wild animals with physical and psychological needs that simply cannot be met in a captive environment. This bill will help end this exploitive practice for good.
How can I help?