A Fateful Anniversary
Today, February 24th, marks the four-year anniversary of the death of veteran SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. WDC respectfully acknowledges this horrific tragedy and the unfolding of events that has occurred since and that together have brought the plight of trainers and captive orcas to light. Dawn’s death launched heightened public and professional scrutiny of safety in the workplace at SeaWorld facilities, and has instigated a groundswell of public support against the continuing confinement of orcas in captivity. Today also serves as a reminder to remember the other human lives lost in captive facilities over the past several decades, including Keltie Byrne (February 20, 1991), Daniel Dukes (July 6, 1999), Alexis Martinez (December 24, 2009). While we fight for the freedom of whales and dolphins, we must also remember to be respectful of those that were lost and the families whose lives were forever altered by these tragedies. Although SeaWorld continues to fight the citation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) which seeks to enhance trainer protections, we hope that their memories serve to improve the lives of trainers and orcas alike.