I've still not received my copy of the OSHA report (gotta bug them about it). HOWEVER...
I may disagree with plenty of things SeaWorld has done (or failed to do), but I will say this much: I believe cutting off all close interaction between whales and trainers will actually make things worse in the long run, in terms of maintaining a good rapport with the critters.
Yes, the whales can (obviously) be dangerous to the point of being lethal. So, though, can driving a car. So can crossing the street. So can walking through an airport, or flying anywhere. So can a few thousand other things we all do, each and every day, without a second thought.
Heck, Life itself can be dangerous to the point of being lethal!
I believe I can count, on the fingers of one hand, the number of people who have been killed by close association with orcas (or most other marine mammals, for that matter) since at least the mid-60's.
While events such as that which took Dawn's life are indeed tragic, is it truly a good reason to effectively punish an entire group of similar animals? (Don't try to tell me the whales don't enjoy contact, because I know from direct experience they do!) Is that how Dawn would have wanted things to go?
I truly believe these 'precautions' are an overreaction, a 'knee-jerk' if you will. I would hope, in time, this whole sequence of events will lead to a much better understanding of the whales themselves, and how to work best with them.
You cannot, after all, create trust in an atmosphere as toxic as that produced by irrational fear.
I'm posting because I have a minor update on my efforts with OSHA. I am assuming, at this point, my E-mail request was ignored for whatever reason.
With that in mind, I have now sent a formal written request, via USPS, citing FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and asking for full details of what they found during their investigation.
I will post details of what I get back, plus my own conclusions, as soon as I receive the material and run through it.
Walt Disney World