Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new standards for captive marine mammals. These new regulations are the first update in 20 years to rules regarding tank size, water quality, handling and transportation:

“As our understanding of animals improves, the standards required for their captivity must also improve. The 20-year-old standards for marine mammals like orcas and dolphins are sorely outdated.

“These new standards propose important new shelter and care requirements for dolphins, polar bears, sea otters, sea lions and other captive marine mammals.  I believe they are a significant improvement from the current requirements. 

“However, I am disappointed the department did not propose larger minimum enclosure sizes for orcas and dolphins. Orcas and dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild, yet some are confined to small pools. I plan to work with the department to address this issue as the rulemaking process moves forward.

“Zoos and aquariums do important work. They contribute vital research and teach children about the importance of preserving the planet’s diversity. These regulations allow that work to continue, while improving conditions for these highly intelligent, social animals.” 

Feinstein wrote to USDA urging the release of the regulations and secured passage of an amendment in the Appropriations Committee requiring they be published.