Monday, August 23, 2010
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, our US Dept of Labor's oversight arm) just released three citations against SeaWorld. The most severe, classified as "Willful" carries a $70,000 fine for exposing a trainer to a killer whale with "known aggressive tendencies". This was, of course, a fatal exposure as 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau was pulled underwater by Tilikum in Orlando. The 12,000 pound marine mammal was captured at age 2 off the coast of Iceland in 1983. He killed a trainer who fell into his pool 19 years ago in Canada and in 1999 was found with the corpse of a man who had jumped a SeaWorld fence draped over his back.
This is not the sole instance of mishaps at dolphin parks. There is a dark history behind forcing free beings into slavery.
Louie Psihoyos, who testified in Congress against SeaWorld earlier this year said,
"I’m heartened that OSHA fined SeaWorld with a willful violation of safety in the tragic death of an orca trainer. However, a $75,000 fine does not send a strong enough message to the captive dolphin industry about the inherent risks of confining marine mammals."
In contrast, OSHA recently fined the US Post Office $350,000 for having electrical hazards.
SeaWorld was also fined $5000 for exposing its employees to a 10'3" fall hazard, "a stairway railing system was not installed on the front side right bridge of the Believe stage at Shamu Stadium."
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