SeaWorld, which has not placed trainers in the water during shows featuring killer whales since the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau in front of stunned spectators in Orlando, Florida, is ready to start allowing contact again. There's only one thing standing in the way: In May, Administrative Law Judge Kenneth Welsch ruled in favor of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), barring physical contact between animals and their trainers. SeaWorld, which is owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group and operates parks in San Antonio and San Diego in addition to Orlando, appealed that ruling on Friday. "We have added numerous safety measures to our already industry-leading killer whale program," the company said in a statement. "It should be noted that physical contact and in-water interaction with these animals is a critical component of both husbandry and trainer safety."
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.