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.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Images from Denver Animal Shelter's Facebook page.

Imagine rummaging through secondhand finds in your local thrift store, only to find that some items include a bonus feline at no extra charge.

Montequlla the orange tabby had somehow not gotten the memo that he and his family were moving. As they dropped off furniture, including a big recliner chair, to the Denver Arc Thrift Store on New Year’s Eve, they had no idea that poor little Montequlla was tucked away inside.

Luckily, the staff began to notice the chair meowing.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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