Beginning Monday, September 19, 2011, a federal hearing over the 2010 death of a killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau, determines if Sea World Orlando faces charges of a willful violation. Expected to last all week, witnesses took the stand today which will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Outside the Seminole County Courthouse protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, protested the captivity of killer whales by Sea World. Tilikum, the 12,000 pound killer whale which killed trainer Dawn Brancheau, and all killer whales held in captivity should be released according to PETA. This is no shock since PETA promotes "better off dead" for pets and being vegan as the only choice of diet.
Witnesses to the February 2010 incident said Brancheau was pulled from a sitting position at the pools edge by the killer whale, savagely attacked and drowned during a show. Sea World and Brancheau’s family are fighting to keep video of the attack from being aired on television or online. After Brancheau’s death, her family stated she loved her chosen field and loved working with the killer whales. Most people choosing to work with animals know the risks and find it acceptable given the many rewards of interacting daily and close up.
OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, cited Sea World in August 2010 for not taking proper safety precautions. Tilikum’s involvement in the killing of a trainer in 1991 at a Vancouver, British Columbia marine park is stated in the citation as “known aggressive tendencies.”
The Sea World trainers are required to sign a statement acknowledging they have read the standard operating procedure and acknowledge calculated risks of working with the marine mammals.
The death was considered a routine investigation and could be concluded at any time by the Seminole county Sheriff’s Department. According to public-records law, the video is to be available to the public. The family is said to be seeking a temporary injunction against release of any footage of the death of their daughter.The groups and individuals seeking access likely only want to sensationalize footage of the woman's death to further their agenda. How unethical and disgusting.