Keep SeaWorld Trainers Out of the Water During Orca Shows

Target: Occupational Safety and Health Commissioners

Goal: Protect the safety of SeaWorld Trainers by maintaining a court ruling that keeps trainers out of the water during shows.

More than two years have passed since the horrific tragedy that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau during a Shamu show at SeaWorld in Orlando Florida. Since then, SeaWorld was handed a willful violation by OSHA, the most severe violation there is, and ordered to install safety measures that would provide trainers with equal or greater protection than just banning them from water work with the orcas during shows. In response, SeaWorld sued the Department of Labor in an attempt to overturn the violation and the new safety measures. The violation was reduced, but all of the safety mandates were kept intact. Trainers would remain out of the water. Judge Welsch explained his ruling by saying, “killer whales sometimes engage in unpredictable behavior, including seizing trainers with their mouths, holding the trainers under water, and ramming the trainers while in the water.” Trainers have to be protected from what happened to Brancheau when she was dunked and rammed repeatedly by an orca until she died in front of an audience. But SeaWorld is not giving up, as evidenced by the appeal they filed to challenge Judge Welsch’s refusal to overturn the OSHA violation. SeaWorld will also try to have the safety measures that keep trainers out of the water voided. If this happens, trainers’ safety will be at risk.

Prior to the government-mandated safety measures, SeaWorld spent $65 million on technologies to protect trainers in pools with orcas. However, it is widely believed that OSHA would never certify that spare air in wetsuits and fast rising pool bottoms are equal or greater protection than keeping trainers out of the water entirely. SeaWorld has already seen numbers drop at the Shamu shows since trainers have been restricted, and this appeal is an attempt to reverse that trend. However, the safety of the trainers should never be compromised for economic reasons.

What happened to trainer Brancheau should have been a wake-up call that mixing humans and orcas in performance-based shows is a bad idea. It is unfortunate enough that these majestic animals are kept captive, not for educational or research purposes, but solely for our entertainment. Now, not only is the well being of the orca in question, but that of the trainer as well. By signing this petition you are asking the Occupational Safety and Health Commission to maintain the ruling as it is, and keep trainers out of the water with orcas.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Occupational Safety and Health Commissioners,

More than two years after the tragic death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, SeaWorld is appealing the ruling that keeps trainers safe on dry land during shows. The company is also trying to have the government-mandated safety measures, including keeping trainers out of the water, voided. Trainers must be protected from what happened to Brancheau when she was dunked and rammed repeatedly by an orca until she died in front of an audience. The OSHA violation and safety measures must be upheld for the sake of the trainer’s safety.

SeaWorld has spent $65 million on technologies such as spare air in wetsuits, fast rising pool bottoms, and robotic rodeo clowns to distract orcas, in an attempt to get their trainers back in the water for Shamu shows. These measures are not enough to maintain the safety of the trainers. They must be kept out of the water during shows.

What happened to trainer Brancheau should have been a wake-up call that mixing humans and orcas in performance-based shows is a bad idea. It is unfortunate enough that these majestic animals are kept captive, not for educational or research purposes, but solely for our entertainment. Now, not only is the well being of the orca in question, but that of the trainer as well. Please do not review the ruling, and uphold the violation and safety mandates given to SeaWorld.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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