Well, we knew that already. What’s new is that Judge Welsch–the Administrative Law Judge who upheld OSHA’s prescription that SeaWorld’s trainers maintain a safe distance from the killer whales unless there was a safety barrier between them–and local Florida media just noticed:
A federal judge believes SeaWorld had a duty to begin implementing new safety improvements required by workplace safety regulators last July, even while the theme park was fighting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in court.
Meanwhile, Local 6 has learned SeaWorld trainers continue to have extremely close physical contact with the killer whales, despite new OSHA requirements that trainers must remain behind a barrier when interacting with the animals during performances…[snip]
…Yet since July, Sea World trainers have continued to have close physical contact with killer whales. During Tuesday’s 2:30 p.m. performance of “One Ocean” at Shamu Stadium, Local 6 cameras recorded SeaWorld trainers touching, petting and dancing alongside killer whales without any barriers separating them.
In one segment of the show, a trainer standing on a submerged ledge leans his entire body on the killer whale and rubs its back with both arms.
Whew, it’s a good thing Local 6 finally “learned” what everyone who has been to a SeaWorld show has known since Welsch’s order was issued. And you have to wonder about a regulatory system that SeaWorld has been so good at either manipulating or ignoring.