Federal Judge Orders SeaWorld Managers to Submit to OSHA Interviews

| April 10, 2013 | 1 Reply
In a ruling issued on April 4, 2013, a federal judge in Orlando agreed with OSHA and required SeaWorld to make three managerial employees available for interviews.  The ruling is an outgrowth of the OSHA findings after Tilikum fatally attacked SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau.
Tilikum Performing at SeaWorld Orlando (by Skip Potter)

Tilikum Performing at SeaWorld Orlando (by Skip Potter)

SeaWorld appears to agree with OSHA that trainers should not interact with the killer whale Tilikum.  But it recently asked an OSHA judge to clarify  the OSHA finding that bars trainers from interacting with killer whales other than Tilikum.  OSHA ordered SeaWorld to put up physical barriers or maintain a minimum distance between these whales and the trainers.  While SeaWorld maintains it has taken extensive precautions to abate the violations, it wants further clarification from OSHA on how and when SeaWorld must comply with these aspects OSHA’s abatement order.  SeaWorld points out that OSHA has not said “what might constitute an appropriate ‘physical barrier,’ ‘minimum distance,’ or other appropriate administrative control . . . and there are no previously-established meanings for those terms in the marine mammal zoological setting.”
While SeaWorld’s reconsideration request was pending, OSHA served inspection subpoenas on SeaWorld.  According to OSHA, the subpoenas are a follow up inspection designed to determine whether SeaWorld has abated the violations, including the one concerning interacting with killer whales other than Tilikum.  SeaWorld refused to comply with the subpoena in part, arguing that it should not have to comply while the reconsideration proceeding was pending.  OSHA then asked a federal judge to force SeaWorld to permit the inspections and interviews   While SeaWorld characterized the inspections as harassment, the federal judge disagreed, finding that the pending reconsideration proceeding did not alleviate Sea World’s obligation to abate the violations.
Meanwhile, SeaWorld has asked the federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia to set aside OSHA’s original violation findings.  There is no word on when the court will issue a ruling.

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Category: News, Sea World

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tori-Peltier/1084517179 Tori Peltier

    I wish people would they would just abolish Sea World. They aren’t as bad as Ringling Circus, but they should not be taking animals from the wild, put them in tiny tanks, and make them perform tricks everyday.