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From Inside the SeaWorld Hearings: Part 1

Written by PETA | September 20, 2011

In an appalling display of its mercenary mindset, SeaWorld is fighting a federal charge that it exposed its employees to risks “causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm,” which was brought after trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by the orca Tilikum last year. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) cited SeaWorld for a willful violation of federal law and fined the company the maximum amount allowed. PETA supporters were outside OSHA’s Florida office to stand up for the animals who live and die in cramped tanks at SeaWorld.

Photo courtesy of Carla Wilson

Even though Tilikum had killed twice before—and despite a history of trainer deaths, hospitalizations, and injuries—SeaWorld’s attorney argued that Brancheau’s death was merely an “unfortunate event” and that its training process made interactions with killer whales “safe.” Yet, SeaWorld’s curator of animal training acknowledged that these procedures couldn’t have saved Brancheau after she was dragged into the water by Tilikum.

Government attorneys stated that killer whales are “large, powerful and non-domesticated animals” with “the potential to cause serious physical harm or death to people who get near them.” They argued that “SeaWorld’s killer whale training program doesn’t change the essential facts that harm or death to people is possible. Their program doesn’t eliminate what SeaWorld itself recognizes as a calculated risk.”

The hearing is expected to last all week. Stay tuned for updates.


Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • Carol says:

    high time to let out all imprisoned sea animals and let them roam the oceans!

  • Leeann says:

    I agree, these whales are forced to perform and get fed when the perform, I dont ever want to go back again. Free the whales

  • Holise E Cleveland III says:

    For the duration of Seaworld’s “last days” in business, the individuals who profit most should be REQUIRED to be orca trainers and they should be REQUIRED to get into the water with the cetaceans. Then we shall see just how long Seaworld stands behind its position that all is good and well at $eaworld!

  • jane says:

    these mammels dont belong in TANK anymore.. theres so many places to see them around the world wil and FREE..

  • Sheree says:


  • Tammy says:

    Well, these are animals that live in the wild and have natural instincts no matter how you want to train them or confine them. They should not be in captivity for Seaworld to CLAIM. .. since they are creatures of God.

  • MLOHNES says:

    To bad more people wouldn’t educate themselves about animal cruelty and stop going to these places.It’s just as bad as going to the circus.

  • Takara says:

    Wow, thank you for being there today at the frontlines, PETA! Keep up the amazing protesting work! I hope Sea World gets the maximum fines for endangering human lives and confining such beautiful, intelligent, social orcas to small, concrete pools. To anyone reading this, boycott theme parks and aquariums with captive cetaceans!

  • ahaynes53 says:

    I’m all for educating our children about animals that most won’t/can’t see in everyday life but it is inhumane to steal mammals from the ocean for shows and entertainment. Theft and unsuitable living conditions for these massive creatures is what kills Sea World’s trainers.

  • snejana says:

    I’m pretty sure it killed cause it was sick of being trapped .