Georgia Aquarium defends new VP after dolphin abuse claims

by Tom Anstey | 09 Feb 2015

Georgia Aquarium has rebuked claims that its staff abused dolphins, with the aquarium’s CEO Mark Leven stating footage that emerged last week was doctored by animal rights activists.

Speaking to local media, Leven said he believed the video – which purportedly shows the aquarium’s new vice president Jose Barbero hitting, kicking and screaming at dolphins he trained in Spain – had been doctored.

“This video is disturbing, we are not happy about it and we are investigating,” said Leven. “We have blown it up. It's very poor. We have seen that it could well be doctored. There is no real indication that we have found yet of any animal abuse in that video. That's not to say we won't.

"We think [Barbero] deserves, after 37 years in a career and no indication in our vetting that this had happened, that we should stand by him until we can prove that this kind of behavior would take place."

The International Marine Animal Training Association is also investigating the matter with Leven adding that the aquarium will stand by Barbero unless the video is proven to be real. Should the video prove real, Leven has said Barbero will be terminated with immediate effect. Barbero is scheduled to start with the aquarium in March.

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Georgia Aquarium has rebuked claims that its staff abused dolphins, with the aquarium’s CEO Mark Leven stating footage that emerged last week was doctored by animal rights activists. Speaking to local media, Leven said he believed the video – which purportedly shows the aquarium’s new vice president Jose Barbero hitting, kicking and screaming at dolphins he trained in Spain – had been doctored. “This video is disturbing, we are not
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Jose Barbero (not pictured) is alleged to have kicked, hit and screamed at dolphins he trained in Spain / Shutterstock.com
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