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Safety of SeaWorld Employees May be at Risk Again in Future

SeaWorld is a well-known theme park throughout the country. With one of its locations in Texas, many people in the state have likely been present for some of its famous performances involving orcas, also known as killer whales. Though the performances may be entertaining, it does not mean that they are safe. This fact was underscored by the killing of a SeaWorld trainer in 2010. A whale the trainer was working with drowned the woman and consumed part of her body. That same whale has been involved in two other fatal incidents, as well. Rather than point the finger at the whale, one must first understand that the animal was taken from its home when it was an infant and its entire life - which was meant to be spent in the wild - has been staged by SeaWorld.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration stepped in to investigate after the 2010 tragedy. Since then, SeaWorld has been barred from letting its trainers be in direct contact with orcas. The company wants to see this overturned, even though this could put the well-being of many individuals employed by the company at risk. Their employee rights to a safe work environment are being threatened by the desire to appeal the ruling made by the safety regulation agency. Though one might suggest that the company should euthanize any animal that threatens employee or audience safety, many opponents of SeaWorld are suggesting the reason that an animal, such as the orca in this instance, becomes reckless is because it is kept in captivity.

It is likely that SeaWorld will not release its collection of orcas. According to reports, there are only 46 orcas in captivity throughout the world - SeaWorld has 22 of them at three of its locations. A new movie addresses the many concerns that have been highlighted here, including the issues regarding employee safety.

If you believe your safety in the workplace has been threatened or your employer is responsible for an injury you have suffered, speak to an attorney who specializes in employment law.

Source: Salon, "Free Willy, for real: SeaWorld has got to go" Andrew O'Hehir, Jul. 20, 2013

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