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Activist Petition Seeks End Of SeaWorld California Orca Shows


SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 7 (Reuters) - The battle over a proposed ban inCalifornia on using killer whales in entertainment shows at amusement parks like SeaWorld stepped up on Monday, as animal rights activists converged onSacramento to present petitions they said were signed by 1.2 million people worldwide.

The symbolic move to present the petitions by representatives of the Animal Welfare Institute and others came a day before a committee of state lawmakers was set to debate a bill to end orca shows at SeaWorld's San Diego park.

The lobbying comes after executives from SeaWorld Entertainment Inc spent two days at the state capitol presenting their case.

The bill to ban orca shows at parks in California was introduced by state Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Santa Monica Democrat, who has said he was inspired by the documentary film, "Blackfish," which tells the story of an orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld's park in OrlandoFlorida, in 2010.

The bill would ban using the majestic black-and-white mammals in shows, a mainstay of the SeaWorld theme parks, and would also outlaw domestic breeding of the whales.

"SeaWorld is already mounting a vicious campaign to defeat this assemblyman's brave move," the advocacy group Sum of Us declared on its website, urging followers to sign the petitions.