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Congressman proposes bill that could ban public displays of captive orcas

Killer whale Tilikum appears during a performance in the show "Believe" at SeaWorld on March 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.
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Killer whale Tilikum appears during a performance in the show "Believe" at SeaWorld on March 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.

SeaWorld's earning miss on Thursday isn't the only setback that the company has faced in recent years and doesn't look to be the last.

Adam Schiff, a congressman from California, and assemblyman Richard Bloom of the city of Santa Monica, proposed a legislation on Friday that would prohibit breeding of captive orcas and prevent wild capture for the purposes of public display.

The Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act (ORCA) is supported by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal.

The act would ultimately phase out captive orcas from locations like SeaWorld in the United States within 50 years.

"While efforts to phase out whales in human care may strike an emotional chord, SeaWorld and other science-based organizations are part of the solution, not the problem," SeaWorld said in a statement. "Killer whales at SeaWorld are healthy and thriving and through conservation and rescue efforts as well as significant work to advance the scientific understanding of orcas and other marine mammals, SeaWorld is a leader in protecting and preserving these species."

The company also noted that it has not captured a whale in the wild in 35 years and does not plan to do so again.

SeaWorld has come under fire in recent years, particularly after the release of the documentary "Blackfish" in 2013, over concerns about its treatment of killer whales. The company's stock has been under pressure as a result.

The Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act, if passed, would create considerable difficulties for the entertainment company.