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SeaWorld Taking Steps To Resume Waterwork

July 21, 2012

Been getting word that at least one SeaWorld Shamu stadium has called a meeting for Monday to discuss beginning waterwork desensitization in the medical pool. That’s the first step to resuming waterwork with SeaWorld’s killer whales, which was stopped in the aftermath of Dawn Brancheau’s and stayed on hold through SeaWorld’s appeal of OSHA’s citation of SeaWorld Florida for exposing trainers to injury from orcas.

I don’t know if all of SeaWorld’s parks are planning to begin waterwork desense training, or whether the training will lead to the resumption of waterwork outside of shows (which Judge Ken Welsch’s OSHA ruling allows) or even in shows that either take place outside of Florida (which was the only park OSHA cited) or in shows everywhere based on a claim that fast-rising floors and other safety measures mitigate the dangers OSHA cited.

But I do know that SeaWorld management, including Brad Andrews and Jim Atchison, have for a while been telling trainers–many of whom have been discouraged by the lack of waterwork and considering moving on from Shamu Stadium–that, despite OSHA, waterwork will be back. And also that plans to install fast-rising pool floors will continue.

SeaWorld management has also been telling trainers that Judge Welsch erred in his ruling, so it seems likely that SeaWorld will appeal his ruling further (it has 60 days to file). In the meantime, SeaWorld is within days of having to demonstrate to OSHA the steps it will take to mitigate the dangers to trainers OSHA identified.

So lots of pieces are in movement, and only SeaWorld knows where it hopes to take them. But a plan to begin waterwork desense shows that waterwork in some form is still very much part of SeaWorld’s plan.

Stay tuned.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristen Larson permalink
    July 21, 2012 7:52 pm

    What?? They aren’t making enough money without waterwork??This is a joke..SeaWorld HAS to be and WILL be stopped!!!

  2. Anon permalink
    July 23, 2012 8:21 am

    Fantastic news😀

    • Kristen Larson permalink
      August 5, 2012 7:17 pm

      Seriously?? You are THAT selfish to think that seeing them in a bathtub is ‘fantastic news’?You obviously don’t know anything about the horrors of captivity. Where do you think they go after you have watched them do stupid tricks for dead fish.. They STAY there, they NEVER leave..They are kept hungry so that they perform for YOU!! MORON..are you teaching your children that captivity is the only way to learn about these magnificent creatures? You and everyone else like you should be ashamed..if you have the guts; read A Death at Sea World. It just might burst your love of Sea World bubble.

  3. July 29, 2012 4:46 am

    If people would stop going to the shows, they would stop breeding the whales. PLEASE stop going to these money making, whale torturing, trainer death shows!

  4. Natasha permalink
    August 5, 2012 2:59 pm

    Wow… Let me give a prelude to my comment.. Somehow within the last month, I went from reading the shades of Gray trilogy to Death at Sea World… How? I’m not even sure. I stumbled upon a link that led me to a link that led me to a 440 page novel on the scientific study of wild vs captive orcas. I am by far an expert but since then, I have also read Blood in the pool and several of Tim’s articles in Outside. Now where is the irony you ask? Well, I have gone to Sea World since 1982 when my grandmother moved to Florida and almost every year since then ( minus the last 5). My children have been raised to go every year as well ( again, minus the last 5.. Which means 13 out of the 18 that my oldest has been alive). It’s strange how one click on a link can open a persons mind. I wouldn’t classify myself as an opponent or proponent at this time, but I think I feel that I fell prey to all the propaganda Sea World fed me. I naievely assumed all the whales were born there. I believed that I was helping with research and conservation etc. and that I was teaching my children these lessons. I would say that Sea World is/was probably one of my most favorite places. I loved being close to these animals that I would normally not have a chance to see. I loved learning about them. What a surprise it was to be reading now and realize that I have learnt more about the “real” lives of orcas than I have learnt in all my visits to Sea World. I must admit, my emotions are conflicting now. I guess i always have felt a sense of remorse for the whales… Like they shouldnt be kept in a fish tank but selfishly, i wanted to see them. I can only say that no matter what OSHA’s findings may be, in the end, the trainers still have the final say. They
    know the risks, they know the history and if this
    is what they still choose, they hold their own
    liability. If they admently decline then they would perhaps alter the decisions. I hate to think that it all comes down to the almighty dollar but it certainly appears that way and it’s quite possible that the “Disney” dream I have lived is over and truth and reality are both looking me straight in the eye… I guess I have to wait for my heart and my head to both agree before I will know for sure…


  1. SeaWorld’s Waterwork Timeline « Tim Zimmermann
  2. Cyber Whale Warriors: Call to Action #DASW « #CyberWhaleWarrior
  3. Inside SeaWorld: Waterwork And Protocols For Working Killer Whales After Dawn « Tim Zimmermann

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