OSHA: It’s a Circus Out There

Probably wishful thinking on IDA’s part, but here’s their argument:

IDA is praising the legal decision rejecting SeaWorld Orlando’s appeal of two Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations that followed the horrific death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. In particular, the court supported OSHA’s recommendation that barriers be used to protect trainers working with orcas.

IDA calls on OSHA to apply that same wise recommendation to captive elephants, by requiring all handlers to work with the animals from behind a protective barrier. Many more elephants than orcas have killed trainers, and even the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recognizes that elephants and handlers should be separated by a barrier. If zoos, circuses and other entertainment businesses cannot comply, they simply should not be exhibiting elephants.

It’s time for OSHA to acknowledge that elephants are dangerous wild animals who pose far greater potential for human injury and death than orcas, and it’s not limited to handlers. Elephants in circuses are in close proximity to the public, often with no barriers between them, and are even used to give rides. If it is too dangerous for an experienced trainer to ride an orca, it is too dangerous for a child to ride an elephant.

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