The THIRD Annual Empty the Tanks Worldwide is again represented in Atlanta, home of the USA's largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium.
This year we'll continue to raise awareness about how marine mammals are not suited to captivity, to live in a concrete tank, performing tricks on a daily basis to earn their bread and board. We'll continue to spread the truth that marine mammals are best appreciated living free in the wild, where they can be observed in their family groups, doing truly natural behaviors, not the circus acts in a tank.
This year, we will also continue to follow the news report of the video of the trainer or trainers at Marineland Mallorca. This is important to those who follow the Georgia Aquarium, because the Georgia Aquarium had hired a former trainer of Marineland Mallorca named Jose Luis Barbero. Mr. Barbero is reportedly shown in video kicking, hitting and yelling at dolphins in his charge during "training" sessions. Mr. Barbero disappeared the day after a meeting with the Georgia Aquarium and after a second video was released that was arguably of better quality than the first, and was found, days later, dead in his car at the airport. The video was released on youtube the day after Mr. Barbero disappeared, but it has been reported that the video was provided to the Georgia Aquarium before its meeting with Mr. Barbero.
Since the International Marine Animal Trainers Association.has said that it does not support "negative reinforcement" and only uses "positive" training methods, the response of both the Georgia Aquarium and IMATA will be very telling. We will be looking for evidence that the aquarium industry cares enough for its charges and for its trainers that it provides and supports reporting of any inappropriate trainer behavior.
Do they stand behind their position of using only positive reinforcement? Or do they support - and even hire - those who use negative methods? Follow the event and we will be able to help fashion messages before June 6.
Thank you to the AWESOME Atlanta AR community for always standing for a better life for captive marine mammals!