SeaWorld says it will end killer whale breeding program immediately

SeaWorld is ending its practice of killer whale breeding following years of controversy over keeping orcas in captivity.

The company announced Thursday morning that the breeding program would end immediately. The company also announced a partnership with the Humane Society.

The company will also end theatrical shows and introduce "new, inspiring natural orca encounters." The new shows will begin next year at the SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s San Diego park.

SeaWorld President and Chief Executive Joel Manby said in a statement that the company introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas and is proud of its part in contributing to the human understanding of the whales.

He says the company is "reimagining" how guests will encounter orcas while providing visitors to the theme parks with "experiences that matter."

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