It's the beginning of the end, hopefully! In response to the continuing post-Blackfish revolt, rapidly falling stock, and a subsequent federal safety citation, SeaWorld has officially stopped all "close contact" between whales and trainers during shows.
As predicted by The Guardian last week, trainers will still swim with whales during "behind-the-scenes safety training exercises."
Following an investigation, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHA) found what SeaWorld "willfully" violated federal safety laws requiring a workplace to be free from recognizable hazards. OSHA also recommended that trainers perform with the marine mammals only if separated by a protective barrier or a sufficient distance. The rules made it impossible for trainers to swim with the orcas during the shows, the AP noted.
SeaWorld appealed the ban on "close contact" in the U.S. Court of Appeals in November, claiming that a Labor Department judge went too far by restricting the content of the marine park's signature attraction. Last April, the appeals court said SeaWorld's challenge was unpersuasive, and that OSHA was correct in issuing a citation.
It's about fucking time. Ideally the next step will be ceasing all contact between whales and SeaWorld's monstrously cruel tanks. And then ceasing all contact between SeaWorld and existence.
Image via Getty.