SeaWorld decides not to appeal court ruling, will keep trainers and killer whales separate

By Kyle Johnson,

SeaWorld Entertainment has decided against appealing a court ruling that said trainers could no longer join orcas in the water.

The decision against taking the case to the Supreme Court was discovered in a Securities and Exchance Commission regulatory filing by the Orlando Sentinel. The filing noted the Orlando-based company had "elected to not pursue further appeal."

The whole issue stems from a Occupational Safety and Health Administration citation in 2010, after a trainer was killed while in the water with an orca, which suggested that SeaWorld's actions of having trainers perform alongside killer whales was too dangerous. Instead, trainers should perform near orcas only if there are physical barriers in place, or enough distance.

SeaWorld took the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., who ruled that the citation be upheld against the company.

The company has struggled since the release of the documentary Blackfish and the stock has since plummeted. SeaWorld shares had dipped sharply 22 percent over the past year.

According to the Los Angeles Times, SeaWorld admitted that attendance had fallen at its 11 theme parks, largely due to the negative publicity created by the documentary over their treatment of their killer whales.

image courtesy of INFphoto.com

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