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Open Access Killer Whale Killers

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In February 2010, a SeaWorld trainer was killed by a killer whale (Orcinus orca). The particular killer whale involved has been involved in three of the four human deaths attributed to killer whales in captivity. A second trainer had been killed just 9 weeks earlier by a SeaWorld killer whale on loan to a facility in the Canary Islands. As a result of the most recent incident, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited SeaWorld in August 2010 for a willful violation of the US Occupational Safety and Health Act, because of the potential and specific dangers the agency considered killer whales to pose to trainers. SeaWorld appealed the citation, which went to court in September/November 2011. In addition, the controversy over holding killer whales in captivity led the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife to hold an oversight hearing in April 2010.

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Keywords: CONGRESSIONAL HEARING; KILLER WHALE; OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA); ORCINUS ORCA; SEAWORLD; TRAINER DEATHS

Document Type: Commentary

Publication date: 01 October 2012

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  • Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.
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