Written by Jeff Mackey
There's big news today in a case that PETA has been
tenaciously pursuing for some time: Consistent with the citations issued against SeaWorld in 2010, Administrative Law Judge Ken Welsch of the Occupational Safety and
Health Review Commission (OSHRC) found that SeaWorld is culpable for allowing
its employees to interact directly with potentially dangerous orcas.
Olivier Bruchez|cc by 2.0
For years, PETA has implored SeaWorld to transfer the marine
mammals it enslaves to transitional coastal sanctuaries because confining animals
of such great size to severely inadequate tanks leads to miserable lives of
desperation and frustration—and dangerous conditions for SeaWorld staffers.
After one orca, Tilikum, killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in front of horrified visitors at SeaWorld Orlando, PETA urged the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to pursue a citation against SeaWorld
and provided it with compiled research on the history of deaths and injuries at
the park and orca aggression in captivity. Today's OSHRC decision affirms that
SeaWorld knew that allowing its employees to interact directly with orcas such
as Tilikum could have serious or fatal results.
While the judge modified the citation for "willful"
violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act to "serious,"
adjusting the fine accordingly, he found that SeaWorld knew that there was a "substantial probability that
death or serious physical harm could result" from these
interactions, yet it continued to allow them. He found SeaWorld's arguments
that it wasn't aware of these hazards to be implausible and lambasted its corporate
culture of placing the blame for dangerous incidents exclusively on trainers
and discouraging trainers from stopping a show—even after an attack.
Information that came out of the testimony during a two-week
hearing before Judge Welsch, as well as during previous proceedings, includes the following:
While SeaWorld's own corporate incident
log contains reports of more than 100 incidents of orca aggression at
its parks, government attorneys brought up incident after incident that
were left out of the log, including the attack leading to Brancheau's death and
attacks by an orca who had a penchant for grabbing trainers' ponytails. Yet despite the premature deaths of four human
beings—one from extensive internal bleeding—and more than 20 orcas at SeaWorld's
parks, the company continues to put profits over humane concerns. Dawn
Brancheau would be alive today if SeaWorld had heeded PETA's advice.
Please join PETA in politely asking David Michaels, assistant
secretary of labor for
occupational safety and health,
to prohibit all direct contact with potentially dangerous animals. And, of
course, never, ever go to SeaWorld or any other marine-animal park.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.