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No More Waterwork with Killer Whales at SeaWorld!

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No More Waterwork with Killer Whales at SeaWorld!

From Save Lolita
May 2012

SeaWorld found responsible in the case of trainer Dawn Brancheau’s death

Judge Ken Welsch has reached his decision in the SeaWorld vs OSHA case, in which SeaWorld tried to overturn the citations against them following the grisly death of trainer Dawn Brancheau by the orca whale Tilikum in 2010.

While reducing the penalty to $12,000 and downgrading the citation from ‘willful’ to ‘serious’, the judge has ruled against SeaWorld and has upheld the finding by OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) that abatement must be made and the fines paid. While the fee may seem like a slap on the wrist for a multimillion dollar business (and it has no doubt cost them more to fight the ruling), it means that SeaWorld will be unable to put trainers back into dangerous conditions and force them to enter the water with the whales.

Documents provided by author David Kirby from the court proceedings make it clear; no more water work – in other words, the trainers must stay out of the water unless their safety can be guaranteed.

Item 1 of Citation No. 2, § 5(a)(1): The gravity of this violation is very high. Trainers were required to work in close contact with killer whales during performances. The killer whales sometimes engage in unpredictable behavior, including seizing trainers with their mouths, holdingthe trainers under water, and ramming the trainers while in the water. SeaWorld’s operant conditioning program places an unrealistic burden on trainers to recognize precursors and react appropriately to forestall undesirable behavior.

According to Kirby, in his decision, the Judge has upheld the OSHA citations and that is a win for the employees of SeaWorld, because within 10 days after the Judge’s order becomes final, SeaWorld must abate the hazards and provide documentation to OSHA’s Tampa Area Office that the hazards have been corrected.”

Excerpts from the document:

Many thanks to the Orca Project:
http://theorcaproject.wordpress.com/

Please also read David Kirby's book Death at Seaworld:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-SeaWorld-Killer-Whales-Captivity/dp/1250002028