For Safety, Ballet Between Human and Killer Whale Loses Some Intimacy
Source: New York Times
MIAMI The electrifying in-water duet between trainer and killer whales at SeaWorld will never be quite the same after a judge ruled recently that animal trainers must be better protected from the fearsome mammals during performances.
The animal trainers who not so long ago kissed, rode on, hugged and were thrust into the air by the killer whales must either remain at a greater distance from them, stand behind a physical barrier or use other devices to keep them safer during performances.
The ruling last week by Ken S. Welsch, a federal administrative law judge for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, came more than two years after the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer who was dragged underwater and killed by a killer whale, or orca, at the SeaWorld park in Orlando. Visitors who were leaving the “Dine With Shamu” event watched the terrifying scene unfold.
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