in 2010, a tragic event occurred at Seaworld Orlando. Tilikum, the largest Orca to be in captivity, attacked, mauled, and killed senior trainer Dawn Brancheau during an afternoon “Dine with Shamu” show in front of a traumatized audience. Ever since this horrific event, a lot of legal issues have arisen from the practice of waterworks, where trainers enter the water and swim with the captive killer whales. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has gotten involved, and currently there is still continuing court issues going on right now. Since Dawn’s death, waterworks has been stopped at all three Seaworld parks. Regulations for preventing them from entering the water have also been placed.
Despite this, the Miami Seaquarium continues to put its trainers at risk by allowing them to swim with Lolita during shows. ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) has sent a letter to OSHA arguing that the “General Duty Clause” should apply to all US marine parks, not just Seaworld. Along with this, the letter also requests that OSHA looks into safety regulations at the Seaquarium, and pleads that they ensure that the Miami Seaquarium maintains a safe distance between trainers and Lolita during shows.
Waterworks are nothing but dangerous stunts to please the crowds. There is no benefit for the Orcas by having a trainer dive into their tank and stand on their backs. This practice is not only highly dangerous to trainers and puts them at a risk for severe injury and death, it also is degrading to the animal. To stand on the nose of an Orca, or ride on their back screams human domination. There is no educational value to this, and all in all, waterwork is just downright illogical. The top predator of the ocean should be treated just that, not as a cuddly teddy bear, because people have and will get hurt from it.
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for the full story please visit: http://theorcaproject.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/seaworld-presses-judge-to-have-closed-hearings/
-Thank you, The Orca Project for this information:
It is anticipated that Federal Judge Ben Welch will be asked to to sign a “Protective Order” for the Sea World vs OSHA hearing, effectively sealing off this case forever. This has been the typical protocol for SeaWorld in past cases regarding employee injuries, and it’s expected to follow the same route in this investigation into the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau nearly one year ago. The proceedings before Judge Welch in Orlando, FL, originally scheduled to begin this Monday, February 14, 2011 have been rescheduled to April 25, 2011, in Orlando, FL.
You can contact, United States Department of Labor, which apparently will also link you to Secretary Hilda Solis FaceBook page. Solis is at the top of OSHA’s chain of command. http://www.facebook.com/departmentoflabor?ref=ts
You can also write on Secretary Hilda Solis’s wall. http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1712614173462&id=1175597100#!/hildasolis
sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/seaworld-stop-pressuring-osha-to-have-closed-hearings
Most Honorable Secretary of Labor
Hilda L. Solis
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
Re: OSHA vs. SeaWorld Order
We respectfully request that you allow the public to hear the outcome of this tragedy and not have the public be banned from hearing about the case.
According to a reliable source, federal Judge Ben Welch is preparing to sign a “Proposed Protective Order” for the Sea World vs OSHA hearing scheduled to begin 25 April 2011, in Orlando, FL, effectively sealing off this case forever.
This order will bar the public from participating in this hearing, and seal all content, including expert witness testimony, and documentation describing the suboptimal conditions associated with orca captivity. Expert witnesses who participate in this trial (if this attempt to seal is successful) will not be allowed to discuss or write anything about it, publicly. The family of the victims should be vindicated and we respectfully submit a request that YOU DO NOT APPROVE THIS ORDER.
It will also prevent content from being used for future litigation or investigation, essentially closing it, akin to the John Sillick tragedy of November of 1987.
-This hearing could determine the future of keeping orcas in captivity for entertainment purposes, so it directly affects Lolita and the Miami Seaquarium. The Seaquarium has much less resources and money than SeaWorld does so please take the time to send the above letter and help play a part in a revolution that has been brewing for many years!