|SeaWorld has decided not to appeal a court ruling that prohibits its trainers from performing with killer whales, the Orlando Sentinel reports, citing a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.|
The legal battle has lasted for years, beginning with the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau by an orca named Tilikum in 2010.
As we reported after the incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined SeaWorld $75,000 and kept trainers from performing alongside orcas. At the time, SeaWorld contested OSHA's conclusion.
This past April, a U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld that citation.
SeaWorld has taken a lot of heat for its use of orcas for entertainment, particularly after the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which featured Tilikum.
Since Brancheau's death in 2010, SeaWorld has taken steps to improve safety for trainers. As NBC 6 in South Florida reports, it "has implemented new safety protocols and equipment for trainers, including an investment of $70 million in lifting floors in the pools that could quickly isolate whales."
SeaWorld announced Aug. 15 that it would be creating bigger "living spaces" for the whales, the first of which will be at SeaWorld San Diego and is scheduled to open in 2018. The...