Georgia Aquarium VP accused of animal abuse found dead

by Tom Anstey | 09 Mar 2015

Jose Barbero, a spanish dolphin trainer accused of abusing animals in his care, has been found dead in Mallorca, according to the Spanish National Police.

Barbero was to become vice president of Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium but was under investigation after footage – which purportedly showed the trainer hitting, kicking and screaming at dolphins – was released by animal rights activists.

Georgia Aquarium rebuked the claims, launching an investigation into the matter with the aquarium’s CEO Mark Leven stating the grainy footage was doctored by animal rights activists.

"Georgia Aquarium began a search for truth in hopes of disproving these unsubstantiated claims,” said Leven in a statement.

“Sadly, [Barbero] and his family received death threats, and groups and individuals rushed to judge him. He was not given the right or the privilege to be considered innocent until proven guilty. His death is untimely, unnecessary and unjust."

Barbero's employer in Spain, Marineland Mallorca, denied the allegations and said it is planning to take legal action against those who released the questionable footage.

Barbero had worked for 37 years as a trainer and had no previous record of animal abuse. The Spanish National Police is treating his death as a suicide.

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Jose Barbero, a spanish dolphin trainer accused of abusing animals in his care, has been found dead in Mallorca, according to the Spanish National Police. Barbero was to become vice president of Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium but was under investigation after footage – which purportedly showed the trainer hitting, kicking and screaming at dolphins – was released by animal rights activists. Georgia Aquarium rebuked the claims, launching an investigation into the
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Jose Barbero worked 37 years as a dolphin trainer and was set to become the new vice president of Georgia Aquarium / Facebook.com
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