In 2018, Dr Ingrid Visser was asked by the plaintiffs to serve as an independent expert in the legal case ‘Anderson v. SeaWorld’.*
As an expert, Dr Visser studied SeaWorld’s internal records and submitted a report on 8 February 2019 discussing her findings based on those records and on published research.
The report is detailed and comprehensive; SeaWorld criticized it as follows in one of its court filings: “Dr. Visser submitted a 328-page report, along with a 76-page, single-spaced list of ‘materials considered,’ listing hundreds of scientific and other publications and thousands of pages of deposition transcripts and documents produced by SeaWorld. The Report also included 19 separate spreadsheets and other schedules containing information purportedly in support of the opinions offered. This sprawling tome attacks virtually every aspect of SeaWorld’s care and maintenance of its killer whales, literally from birth to death since the inception of the operation more than 50 years ago.”
Dr Visser also prepared a rebuttal report (in response to SeaWorld’s expert reports) which was filed on 19 April 2019.
Both of these documents are now publicly available (albeit with redactions) and include reference to the orca held at Loro Parque (as they were owned by SeaWorld at the time of the case being filed).
The case is being held in the USA (Northern District of California) and is heard by Judge White. In September 2019, the trial was bifurcated (split into two parts), with the first part (the plaintifs standing) being heard on 9 March 2020. The second part (where the expert witnesses, including Dr Visser will be heard) is to start on 27 April 2020.
As this case is still ongoing, the Free Morgan Foundation can make no further comments about the contents of these reports.
* The full name of the case is MARC ANDERSON, KELLY NELSON, and JULIETTE MORIZUR, Plaintiffs, v. SEAWORLD PARKS AND ENTERTAINMENT, INC., (Case No.: 3:15-cv-02172-JSW-JCS).