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SeaWorld Witness Laughs While Testifying

Written by PETA | November 17, 2011

After its request to dismiss the OSHA case against it was rejected, SeaWorld called its first witness, Jenny Mairot, the supervisor of animal training at the Orlando park. Mairot started at SeaWorld a year after graduating from high school and has never received formal training as an animal behaviorist or trainer outside the organization. Despite being Dawn Brancheau’s partner at the time of her death, Mairot testified cheerfully, laughing loudly and often during her testimony.

Mairot described Tilikum—the orca who killed Brancheau (and two others)—as “the most congenial, easygoing, and predictable” of the three adult male orcas she has worked with. She called Brancheau’s death “tragic, but it was not unpredictable” and said that SeaWorld employees “were well aware of what would happen if someone fell into the pool with [Tilikum].”

OSHA’s attorney stressed that SeaWorld turned a blind eye to safety and allowed its trainers to be in harm’s way just for show by “writing incident reports, sending them around, and patting themselves on the back.”

Mairot blamed trainer Alexis Martinez‘s death on “layers of mistakes” and said that when she watches video footage of the incident, “Keto [the whale who killed Martinez] wasn’t even that bad.” She stressed that the trainers at Loro Parque are “raw” and that the orcas are all young males. Mairot failed to note that Loro Parque staffers were trained by SeaWorld trainers and that the orcas were all provided for and placed in the facility by SeaWorld. SeaWorld Orlando trainers stopped water work for only a single day after Martinez’s death, and no substantive changes were made to their protocols.

The next witness, Kelly Flaherty Clark, is the curator of animal training at SeaWorld Orlando. Flaherty Clark agreed with Mairot that the trainers were at fault for Martinez’s death. Flaherty Clark lamented the fact that non-SeaWorld staffers were allowed to review incident reports since they don’t understand “our craft.” When asked who incident reports were meant for, Flaherty-Clark replied, “Certainly not a lawyer or the courtroom.”

More to come.

 

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

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  • mbnebgen says:

    Go to Sea World Adventure Camps PETA, maybe you will actually learn a thing or two about these animals. Also go look in the ocean the whales have the same “floppy fin” and every animal that is at Sea World has something wrong with it that makes them unable to be released back into the wild. They can not survive on their own. They do not just drive up with a boat, catch them and bring them to Sea World.

  • hpxox says:

    this is why marine animals, let alone any animals at all, should not be in captivity.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    The other day I spoke to my three year old great newphew on the phone. He excitedly told me his parents had taken him to Sea World. I just forwarded some information by PETA regarding Sea World in general and the recent death of the trainers in particular to the child’s mother. I have told her before why I decline invitations to accompany them to zoos or aquatic parks. We are going to spend Thanksgiving with them so I am bringing some PETA stickers and a Kids Guide To Helping Animals for my nephew (I’ll read it to him) as well as a copy of Animal Times which I will leave on the coffee table or in the magazine rack.

  • Swimfree says:

    Sensitivity is a must at times like this……a woman very much dedicated to these animals has died. The whales are too domesticated to be returned to the wild at this point and the educational value of the mammals as ambassadors to the public is apparent but I dont believe the water work with the animals is the best things for them. Let them be in there little world…its all they have.

  • baby-ice-ice says:

    Do you see how the fin on that poor orca is floppy? Their fin will become floppy like that when they are depressed. It often happens to orcas in captivity because they don’t have any other orca friends and they don’t have enough space to roam around in.

  • Sara Keltie says:

    As a marine zoologist I am disgusted someone with no formal training what-so-ever in ethology can be regarded as an expert on animal behavior!

  • raquelwdc says:

    Wow. These “women” do realize people died, right? Callous, disgusting behavior.

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