A new law in California will change everything about keeping orcas in captivity.

You can't breed orca whales in California anymore.

On Sept. 13, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that'll make it illegal to breed orca whales in California. It'll also majorly rewrite what captivity itself means for the whales.

The law comes into effect next June, and it'll change things in a big way. Places like SeaWorld, for instance, won't be able to breed orcas at all anymore nor use them for entertainment or performances.


Instead, the only way you can keep an orca in captivity is if you're a bona fide educational or science institution or if you're trying to save its life after a rescue. Under the law, orca whales currently in captivity can stay there, but the facilities holding them will need to conform to the new standards.

This is a big deal, partly because it's a result of major public outcry about keeping orcas in captivity.

Two orca whales during a performance at SeaWorld. Image by Gerardo Mora/Stringer/Getty Images.

Orca whales are large, smart, social animals, and it's often really, really difficult to keep such animals in captivity. Some people have said it's even cruel.

And although some people have pointed to scientific progress that's only been made possible through such close contact with them, the public outcry has been, on the whole, pretty deafening.

Though it's not the only institution to hold orcas in captivity, SeaWorld has been a major target for the outcry, starting with the 2013 documentary "Blackfish."

Photo from Matt Stroshane/Getty Images.

The documentary focused on the life of Tilikum, an adult male orca whale at SeaWorld who killed one of their trainers. Since the premiere of the documentary, SeaWorld has come under major pressure to change its orca whale shows and keeping practices.

In March of this year, SeaWorld (which has 24 orcas in captivity in California, Texas, and Florida) promised to stop its breeding program and end its use of orcas for entertainment purposes. It will still keep them on their property, but there are plans to transition the whales to a more natural, education-oriented focus.

"SeaWorld has been listening and we're changing," said the company in a statement, as reported by The Independent. "Society is changing and we're changing with it. SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guests to take action to protect wild animals and wild places."

With this new law, SeaWorld will be able to keep the whales they currently have, but they can't really breed or bring in new ones.

This law should hopefully help protect orca whales in captivity while still allowing for good-faith rescue attempts and education.

It's huge progress for animal activists everywhere and for orcas, mostly made possible by people — regular people — like you and me. And that's pretty cool.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Photo by Tod Perry

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