SeaWorld Killer Whale Team Battles OSHA in Court


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SeaWorld is a popular destination the world over for the up-close-and-personal viewing people are able to experience with sea life. In the past, trainers were actively involved in water presentations with some of the marine creatures. However, the tragic death of 40-year-old trainer, Dawn Brancheau, spiraled the entertainment company into legal concerns with (OSHA) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration .

Brancheua drowned when an orca called Tilikum pulled her down into one of the exhibit's pools. The organization has worked to promote wildlife, in general, as well as the public's specific impression of the parks and organization as a whole in lieu of the tragic event.

SeaWorld attorney Eugene Scalia recently appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of SeaWorld Entertainment Incorporated to overturn a previous ruling that specified distance be maintained between the marine creatures and the trainers who work with them. Scalia likened the distance impositions to contact sport when stating, "It's as if the federal government came in and told the NFL that 'close contact' on the football field would have to end."

However, not all members of the public remain convinced that the organization has the best interest of the animals in mind during all business decisions.

According to Department of Labor attorney Amy Tryon, "The distinction is that the acts that SeaWorld claims are inherent to their business model are, in fact, not inherent to their business model. We know that Sea World is able to make a reduction in risk to its employees because Sea World has done that."

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons and Courtesy of Denis Santana]