Washington lawmakers may ban keeping whales captive

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to outlaw keeping whales and dolphins captive for entertainment, even if the marine mammal was bred in captivity.

A bill set for a state Senate committee hearing Thursday afternoon would make it a misdemeanor to capture or import marine mammals, such as whales dolphins or porpoises, for performance or breeding. Historically, Washington state waters have been the source for more than half of the 466 orcas taken for captivity in the U.S., but the practice was banned by the federal government in the 1970s.

There are no orcas, dolphins or porpoises currently in captivity for entertainment purposes in Washington. A similar bill in 2000 did not make it to the Senate floor for a vote.