Congress Set to Investigate Marine Mammals in Captivity
A hearing is set to convene on Capitol Hill today to examine marine mammals in captivity in the wake of the tragic death of a Sea World trainer in Orlando in February.
The House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife will hear testimony beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT, on "Marine Mammals in Captivity: What Constitutes Meaningful Public Education?"
Among those testifying will be Naomi Rose, Ph.D., senior scientist for Humane Society International and a marine biologist, Louie Psihoyos, director of the Academy Award winning documentary, "The Cove," which examines Japanese dolphin hunts, Julie Scardina, curator at Sea World, Paul Boyle, Ph.D., senior vice-president for conservation and education for the Association of Zoos and Acquariums, Rae Stone, DVM of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Peter Corkeron, Ph.D., of Cornell University.
Currently, all public facilities displaying marine mammals are required by law to have some type of education or conservation program. The hearing intends to look at the implementation of this and the responsible holding of marine mammals in captivity.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently filed a letter with the Orlando District Attorney asking for manslaughter charges to be brought against Sea World for culpability in the death of Dawn Brancheau, a senior orca trainer who died on February 24th at the Orlando park. The fate of the orca, Tilikum, responsible for Brancheau's death has not yet been determined, but he remains at Sea World. Dr. Rose, one of those testifying in today's hearing, has visited Tilikum at Sea World since Brancheau's death.
Federal records recently obtained by the Orlando Sentinel detail several incidents in recent years identified by investigators for OSHA. Reporter Jason Garcia of the Sentinel reports that five serious incidents were reported in the period from 1999 to 2006 as part of an investigation into an incident at the Sea World park in San Diego, California.
On the Web:
PETA Asks Orlando D.A. to File Manslaughter Charges Against SeaWorld and Its Chief Executives - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Event: 'Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans And Wildlife Oversight Hearing on "Marine Mammals In Captivity: What Constitutes Meantingful Public Education?"' - U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources (live audio and video weblinks)
The Loneliest Whale in the World - What to Do With a Killer Whale? (video) - Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
(photo credit: The Cove)