Whale that killed its trainer at SeaWorld 'must be stoned to death', says American religious groupDaily Mail, UK
March 3, 2010
A whale that killed its trainer at the SeaWorld tourist attraction should be stoned to death, according to an American religious group.
The American Family Association said Biblical teachings dictate that the five-ton killer whale Tilikum should be executed for dragging to death trainer Dawn Brancheau.
They also said the head trainer at the Orlando theme park where the incident took place a week ago should suffer a similar fate.
The suggestion by the national religious group is by far the most outrageous received by SeaWorld as the park ponders the future of the performing whale who has been involved in three deaths, including another trainer at a theme park in 1991.
Brancheau, 40, was dragged to her death in front of horrified tourists after the male whale had completed a performance in the 'Believe' show at SeaWorld in Florida.
The orca grabbed hold of Brancheau's ponytail and pulled her into his 35ft tank where she drowned.
Police in Orlando this week released witness statements in which the frantic efforts to save Brancheau were described by tourists and staff at the attraction.
Brancheau, one of the park's most experienced trainers, was buried earlier this week in her home town of Chicago, Illinois.
Officials at SeaWorld have rejected calls to have Tilikum, or Tilly as she was known by staff, euthanised or released into the wild.
Chuck Tompkins, head curator at SeaWorld, said releasing Tilly back into the ocean after more than 20 years in captivity would be a certain 'death sentence'.
The 12,000lb whale will continue to perform at SeaWorld where shows featuring the killer whales resumed at the weekend.
As a precaution until an investigation into Brancheau's death has been completed the trainers will not get in the water with the eight whales taking part in the daily shows.
The American Family Association have added to the controversy by saying Tilly should be stoned to death for killing.
'If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tilikum would have been put out of everyone's misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives,' said Bryan Fisher on the AFA website.
'Says the ancient civil code of Israel, "When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten."'
Fisher goes on to say that the ancient scriptures say the owner of the animal responsible for killing must also die.
'The Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal,' said Fisher.
The posting on the group's website is meant to refer to Chuck Tompkins, the curator of animals at SeaWorld.
The AFA is a conservative Christian group that promotes traditional family values based on bible teachings.
It is pro-life and opposed to same sex marriages but also advocates the death penalty.