The move comes after the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. She was killed in 2010 when a 6-ton killer whale pulled her into a pool.
Seaworld is contesting two citations issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The case centers around a rule which says employers must provide a workplace fee from recognized hazards.
One labor and employment attorney says Seaworld is arguing that the interaction between humans and killer whales is essential to its business. "I think it is a legitimate argument. Again, they're taking the position that this isn't just the way we do work, it's our product," Benjamin Briggs said.
People opposed to Seaworld keeping killer whales in captivity predict that if the company wins the appeal, more trainers could die.