|SeaWorld Entertainment has decided not to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a citation barring trainers from performing with its killer whales.|
The company said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week that it has "elected to not pursue further appeal."
In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld a citation against SeaWorld issued in mid-2010 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency accused SeaWorld of endangering trainers by allowing them to perform in unprotected contact with the whales.
OSHA, which spent six months investigating SeaWorld after the February 2010 death of Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, recommended that trainers be allowed to perform with killer whales only when protected by physical barriers or sufficient distance. That standard effectively makes it impossible for trainers to swim with the whales.
"The safety of our staff and the welfare of our animals are SeaWorld's highest priorities, and since February 2010 we have made significant safety improvements. ... We are focused on the implementation of those improvements moving forward," SeaWorld said in a prepared statement. "As such, we opted not to pursue further appeal of the court's decision, which was based on how we were conducting our killer whale program prior to February 2010."
SeaWorld likely realized that an appeal of the ruling would be "a very difficult case to win," said Bob...