SeaWorld vs OSHA Hearing Concludes- Judge’s Decision Pending
In August, 2010, OSHA issued citations to SeaWorld for apparently placing profit above employee safety following the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau who was brutally killed by Tilikum, a nearly 12,000 pound (5,443 kg) killer whale (Orcinus-orca) on February 24, 2010.
The citations include fines totaling $75,000 for safety violations including the maximum $70,000 penalty for the “Willful” act of knowingly placing its employees at risk, a charge that has major implications beyond the monetary value which is not substantial for the multi-billion dollar marine park.
The stunning charges rekindled the ongoing debate of keeping these intelligent, highly-social beings in captivity for entertainment purposes. It has also sparked a growing number of former SeaWorld employees to speak out about the culture of working with orcas and the secrecy that shrouds the marine mammal entertainment industry.
The hearings before Adminstrative Law Judge Ken Welsch concluded on Friday, November 18, 2011 after 9 days of testimony spread out over 2 months. In the courtroom, SeaWorld contested the OSHA citations in often heated exchanges with the numerous witnesses called to the stand.
The Orca Project was in the courtroom and will be providing details on the case as we await the judge’s ruling which is anticipated to occur within the next 45 days.
TOP has been archiving all of the latest developments, testimony, links, documents, video, etc on our SeaWorld vs OSHA page. You are encouraged to check there often as we will be providing frequent updates with the latest news and information. You can access the page at any time by visiting www.theorcaproject.com and click on the “SeaWorld vs OSHA” tab. You can also follow us on FaceBook and Twitter (@TheOrcaProject) for real-time reports.