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SeaWorld Vs. OSHA: Now We Wait

November 28, 2011

My report on Round 2 of the SeaWorld appeal of OSHA’s citation against SeaWorld Florida is up over at Outside Online. Here’s the lead-in:

The security guards screening visitors to the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, jokingly called it the “Flipper trial.” But when nine days of courtroom testimony on the intricacies and risks of working closely with killer whales drew to a conclusion on November 18, the federal administrative-law judge tasked with ruling on SeaWorld’s appeal of an OSHA citation knew he had a tough decision before him. “This is one of the most unusual OSHA hearings I have had,” said Judge Kenneth Welsch, explaining that most of the dangers he’d deliberated during the past 15 years were more commonplace, like employees tripping and falling. “I will have to consider it very carefully.”

Welsch will likely deliver his verdict sometime next Spring, so the case is now on hiatus as both sides sum up their arguments in legal briefs, and then Welsch plows through them and the hearing record to make his decision. It’s likely that whatever Judge Welsch decides, it will will be appealed further, so this movie could run for ages. But given the stakes for both sides, that is not surprising.

To complete the wrap up, here is an interview about the case that I did with Guy Raz of NPR’s All Things Considered, which aired last Friday.

One Comment leave one →
  1. rita permalink
    November 28, 2011 10:18 am

    This judge has the power to do one of the most important thing for humans safety and for whale safety. This can be real big for the animal cconservation world and to ensure safety for humans work. He can do the right thing FINALLY, break this false believes that orcas do good in captivity and that orcas in captivity can befriends humans training them like family. That is not a friendships that is submission to survival on behalf of these whales which perform in order to get feed, not because they like it! The evidence is all there ! Humans are differents from orca and nature can finally for one time be respected.

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