Target: Mike Leven, Georgia Aquarium CEO
Goal: Fire animal trainer who uses abusive techniques to train dolphins.
Georgia Aquarium’s new Vice President has been filmed violently abusing animals at his former job. The Georgia Aquarium assumed it was safe to hire Jose Barbero because he had been a trainer at the aquarium Marineland Mallorca in Spain for over thirty years. Yet a video went viral right after he was hired which showed Barbero using overly aggressive training techniques in order to try and get dolphins and whales to perform certain behaviors.
The CEO of the Georgia Aquarium – Mike Leven – insists the video footage was likely altered. However, a woman who lives next to the aquarium decided to film Barbero while working because she was fed up with listening to him aggressively yell at the animals. The video shows Barbero spitting at the dolphins while periodically screaming things like, “Are you stupid or are you just pretending to be?”
Additionally, he has been accused by others for displaying this type of treatment towards marine mammals in the past. Jennifer Berengueras of SOS Delfines, an organization that strives to raise awareness about dolphins and whales in captivity, came out with a statement saying Barbero was known to train animals using aggressive training methods. Sign the petition below to tell Mike Leven and the Georgia Aquarium that a person who abuses animals has no right to be working with them.
Dear Mr. Leven,
The man you have recently hired to be your new Vice President, Jose Barbero, was caught brutally abusing animals on film. Sadly, he was caught doing this at his former place of employment.
Although you claim the video was likely altered, it is doubtful that this is the case since he has been accused of displaying this type of behavior towards marine mammals in the past. In reference, Marineland Mallorca, the aquarium Barbero used to work for, is also known for allowing trainers to use unacceptable training tactics. Furthermore, the video was filmed by a person who lives next to the aquarium because she was fed up with listening to the animals being constantly abused.
The Georgia Aquarium should be focused on animal welfare and educating people about what they can do to better help the oceans and marine mammals. If the Vice President of your company is not trusted by the public, people will not be willing to take anything the aquarium has to say about marine conservation seriously.
As soon as the video was released that showed Barbero using these inexcusable training tactics, he should have been immediately fired. For all of these reasons, I urge you to fire Jose Barbero and to find a new Vice President who actually cares about the way animals are treated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Angoria via Wikimedia commons