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Whales Are Not for Display - National Humane Education Society

Paws Up! SWIMS Act of 2022 aims to end the display of certain species of marine mammals.

Orca in captivity.

August 13, 2022

Representative Adam Schiff, a group of representatives, and Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings Act of 2022 (SWIMS Act of 2022), on July 26, 2022. This bill prohibits the capture, importation, exportation, or breeding of certain species of marine mammals for display purposes. The only exception would be relocating them to a sanctuary or back to the ocean. H.R. 8514: SWIMS Act of 2022 is an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. It protects certain species of whales from being captured, imported, or exported for display use. It is also an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act. This amendment makes it illegal to breed or artificially inseminate certain species of whales for display purposes.

Beluga whale in captivity.

SWIMS Act of 2022 would protect orcas, beluga whales, false killer whales, and pilot whales. This species list of marine mammals, protected under the SWIMS Act of 22, reflects these marine mammals’ intelligence. They show creative problem-solving skills, empathy, intentionally communicate, and form lifelong bonds. Living in captivity takes a toll on these species due to their high intellect. Senator Feinstein’s recent press release states, “The conditions these whales live in contribute to far shorter lifespans – captive orcas typically live just 12 years compared to 40 years in the wild – and there is significant evidence that captivity is excruciating for these mammals.”

Whales need to have space to swim, like in the ocean’s open waters. Instead, they live in small concrete tanks that resemble nothing of the vast ocean. Not only do the tanks have little to no enrichment, but in most cases, these captive whales live in a tank alone. Science also supports that captivity leads to these marine mammals’ showings signs and behaviors of stress and suffering. According to an article, they engage in abnormal behaviors such as self-stranding for long periods, chewing on their enclosures, and self-mutilation. These remarkable creatures are not for our viewing, and the SWIMS Act of 2022 puts an end to this cruel entertainment and amusement.

Do you support SWIMS Act of 2022? Contact your legislators at this link.

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One response to “Whales Are Not for Display”

  1. Suzyn says:

    I support the SWIMS ACT! It’s long overdue knowing that these beings belong in the sea, not in tanks for human amusement. Please, let’s put an end to our inhumanity to the animals on this earth.

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