On September 19, 2011, a federal hearing began to determine how SeaWorld should be held accountable for the death of a trainer in February 2010. An OSHA investigation that found that the theme park's protections for trainers were inadequate. SeaWorld attempted to obtain an order for the hearing that would have closed its proceedings and sealed the trial.
Dolphin activists protested the order, urging the Dept of Labor to keep the trial open, not only to ensure that justice was served for the trainer who lost her life, but also to expose the reality behind conditions at SeaWorld parks. More than 3,300 Change.org members joined the fight against closing the hearings. SeaWorld's order was not granted and the proceedings opened with public witnesses inside the courtroom and protesters against SeaWorld outside the courthouse.
VIA THE ORCA PROJECT~ CALL TO ACTION
"The fallout began on Monday, August 23, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations to Seaworld for apparently placing profit above employee safety. These citation opened the floodgates for further legal action by Dawn Branchau's family, terminated employees and witnesses. It has also sparked a growing number of former SeaWorld employees to speak out about the culture of working with Orcas and the secrecy that shrouds the Marine Mammal Entertainment Industry.
Triggering the flurry of claims was stunning announcement that OSHA fined SeaWorld, Orlando, $75,000 for safey violations including the maximum of $70,000 in penalty for the "willfull" act of knowingly placing its employees at risk.
According to a reliable source, Federal Judge Ken S. Welsch is preparing to sign a “Proposed Protective Order” for the Sea World vs OSHA hearing scheduled to begin 25 April 2011, in Orlando, FL, effectively sealing off this case forever.
Although this order has not yet been signed, it is expected to be next week. This order has been drafted, visualized, and is awaiting his signature, pending approval of the Secretary of Labor.
This order will bar the public from participating in this hearing, and seal all content, including expert witness testimony, and documentation describing the suboptimal conditions associated with orca captivity. Expert witnesses who participate in this trial (if this attempt to seal is successful) will not be allowed to discuss or write anything about it, publicly.
It will also prevent content from being used for future litigation or investigation, essentially closing it, akin to the John Sillick tragedy of November of 1987. This is a call for action.
Via the Orca Project
ps. You can also leave a message at the Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/departmentoflabor?ref=ts