The Shamu kills trainer scenario is the worst one possible at Sea World. Yet yesterday’s ‘Shamu kills trainer’ attack at Sea World has the water park scrambling, and the battle lines being drawn. The park audience was horrified to see trainer Dawn Brancheau slip into a whale tank and get attacked right in front of their eyes. Now that the attack at Sea World has hit the news and the Internet, an old debate is set to emerge. With the ‘Shamu kills trainer’ story, captive animals as a whole are sure to be the story.
This particular whale has been linked to two other deaths in the past: in 1991 and 1999. Tilikum the whale attacked a trainer in Canada in 1991, while a homeless man was found dead with bite marks outside his tank in 1999.
Since this is an Orca whale, also known as killer whales, the ‘Shamu kills trainer’ outcome may not be surprising to some. That is the main point for animal right activists, who have never been fans of animals performing in parks. Because this would seem to prove their point, activists and PETA are bound to have their own opinion on the incident.
PETA already responded on their blog by attacking Sea World for confining the whale, and for staying open after the attack. They asked, “Have they no shame?!” and all but excused the whale for killing Brancheau, since he was, “forced into subservience and forced to perform stupid circus tricks for their food for so long.”
With the Shamu kills trainer saga now an Internet phenomenon, and with graphic accounts of how Brancheau was killed, this tragedy will gain great traction. PETA and animal rights activists are already set to further their cause, while Sea World will be under intense scrutiny for some time.
Since the whale has killed before, Tilikum’s fate is sure to be a talking point. He likely cannot perform at Sea World again, so the park may either decide to put him down or set him free. There will likely be pressure on both sides over that decision, but there’s no word on which way they may go yet.
The attack at Sea World has now become much more than a story about a whale killing a trainer – or at least it will be. But every time a story like this happens, like when Siegfried and Roy were attacked by their tigers, the status quo is maintained over time. Animals are still made to perform, while PETA’s pleas go unheard in the long run.
This ‘Shamu kills trainer’ saga is bound to fire up people for several days. But unless the public pressure is especially great this time, Sea World will likely continue their shows soon, as if nothing happened.
The PETA Files- “Captive Whale Kills One More Sea World Trainer”
This Is London- “SeaWorld killer whale linked to two more deaths”
MSNBC.com- “Orcas regularly involved in deaths of trainers”