OSHA Cites SeaWorld for Endangering Employees Who Work With Killer Whales

August 2010

On April 22, 2010, PETA wrote to the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), David Michaels, outlining the dangers inherent in working with killer whales in captivity and a decades-long history of attacks in which trainers have been seriously injured or killed at SeaWorld. PETA urged the agency to hold SeaWorld accountable for Dawn Brancheau’s death on February 21, 2010. On August 23, 2010, OSHA cited SeaWorld for a willful violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (one “committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health”) and fined SeaWorld the maximum $75,000 “for exposing its employees to struck-by and drowning hazards when interacting with killer whales.”

OSHA’s press release referenced the same information included in PETA’s letter: “In addition to the history with this whale, the OSHA investigation revealed that SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities, including its location in Orlando. Despite this record, management failed to make meaningful changes to improve the safety of the work environment for its employees.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind