When we announced the imminent release of Belinda Fellgate: HellCat, we received several emails from activist friends telling us that there was outrage behind the scenes – so-called activists bad-mouthing us via private message.
They know that the new book is a young adult fantasy. They know that we were writers and artists before we wrote the dolphin trilogy. It seems they're not even happy about us returning to our 'old jobs'. They don't want us to do anything that might attract public attention. They hoped we'd simply fade away. Well – shock and horror! - the HellCat is coming whether they like it – or not!
We eventually got confirmation that the charity block of The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy was down to Margaux Dodds and Gaye Hunter of the UK charity Marine Connection. They were trying to protect the interests of Ric O'Barry – a man who didn't want to share the anti-captivity platform with another ex-trainer from around the same era. On discovering this skulduggery, we announced it on social media - and three things happened. First, we and several activist friends were hacked by two people who claimed to be personal friends of Ric O'Barry. Second, one of Dolphin Project's senior team members opened a Twitter account with the sole purpose of challenging former head trainer and whistle-blower, David Capello. Third, several anti-captivity activists got in touch to tell us that the O'Barry team had also attacked them in various ways, including hacking and threats.
You can read the explosive blog that brought all this underhand trickery to a head by clicking on the link below – and be sure to read the comments, especially those made by other former dolphin handlers and Sugarloaf Sanctuary workers.
A friend recently complained that staff witnessing abuse in various industries are unwilling to speak out. That’s because whistle-blowers are treated so badly and get a reputation. Not only do they lose their jobs (be it being pushed or being forced to jump), but they also have great difficulty getting work elsewhere. Prospective employers think they can never be trusted. If people have a job and want to keep it, they quickly realise that they have to keep their heads down and their mouths shut.
The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy was not my story, but I helped to write and edit it. In doing so, I was vilified by the very charities I once contributed to. I lost all my lecturing work. I lost my publishing work. All of it.
I worked on an award-winning story that was emotionally draining; a story that I believed would give the charities ammunition against the captive industry; a story that I believed would educate the public and stop them buying that ticket to a dolphinarium. In my naivety, I didn't foresee that Capello would be viewed as a threat to O'Barry; didn't foresee that the charities would view us as a threat to their professed expertise and incomes; didn't foresee that the UK activists would turn on us and tell us that our help wasn't needed or wanted.
But we are not the only ones who have suffered. On an amusing note, I have commented on the testimonies of two celebrity activists who were complaining about the charities turning on them. In both instances, the celebrities involved replied to every comment of support … except mine. It seems that when the charities turned on US, it was deemed to be justified. When the charities turned on THEM, it was NOT.
Laughable when you think about it, but that’s people for you - one of the many reasons why I have always preferred animals to people … a mindset that stemmed from childhood and has only been reinforced throughout the years.
Tracy J Holroyd, Cert Ed, BA(Hons), Member of the Society of Authors
Freelance writer for D C Thomson
Children’s History of Manchester
Children’s History of Lancashire
The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy
Belinda Fellgate: HellCat
UNDERGROUND PRESS GIVES PLATFORM TO THE PERFECT PAIR DOLPHIN TRILOGY'S FORMER HEAD TRAINER AND WHISTLE-BLOWER, DAVID CAPELLO
William Roache, MBE, aka Ken Barlow of ITV’s hit Soap, Coronation Street: ‘The message is clear and powerful. Humanity has reached a stage where it is intolerant of abuse and ill treatment of animals, especially in the world of entertainment.’
Dr Simon JR Adams, BSc(Hons), BVMS, MRCVS, Independent Zoo and Wildlife Veterinary Adviser: ‘Could lead to a whole new understanding of cetacean behaviour.’
Ben Reeves, Journalist and Book Reviewer: ‘A shocking exposé of callous brutality against highly intelligent living creatures.’
Dave D, Ex-TV/Radio Presenter and Director of Pattaya One Media Group: ‘A national UK media block, corporate book blocking, covert messaging. All seemingly aided and abetted by many of the big-name anti-captivity charities. Intrigue and skulduggery more reminiscent of an international spy thriller than a book series about dolphins.’
David Capello, former head dolphin trainer and whistle-blower, Entam Leisure:
Lies, deceit, corruption – to say nothing of cruelty. All facets of the lucrative captive cetacean industry. And I should know, because I was once a big part of it.
So, who am I?
I have several pseudonyms, my most popular being ‘Capello’, the most colourful being ‘The Psychic Trainer’. But there is another handle – one I’d rather remain unwritten, as my whistle-blowing return was never intended as self-promotion. Either way, I am the trainer featured in The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy exposé, three books written under the fiction banner to avoid legal problems. A story now described by one discerning reviewer as ‘… fact stranger and more brutal than fiction!’ Yet, incredibly, all events chronicled are true, facts authenticated by original dolphin logbooks, long since thought destroyed. (A common Company practice on the death of a show dolphin.)
As you can imagine, my emergence with these logs has severely rattled the conglomerate and animal celebs involved in the story, resulting in a national UK media blackout. A cover-up that appears to have infiltrated the USA, after this award-winning exposé was controversially pulled from an over-subscribed summer reading programme by an unnamed US official. Desperate actions that beg the question, ‘Why are so many organisations, people and – now it would appear – governments so afraid of my story? Why are they so anxious to shut me up?’ Questions that can only be answered by reading the exposé itself.
As for me, my involvement with the aqua circus began at the tender age of 17, when I landed what I believed to be my dream job – a naivety that saw me whisked away from family and friends, and deposited in the harsh confines of the UK dolphin training pens; a facility breaking raw dolphins for the commercial dolphinaria.
Always held in high esteem, trainers graduating from this establishment were known for being ‘hard-nosed’. Not surprising considering the daily horrors they inevitably witnessed - botched transports that left countless dolphins injured and even maimed. I personally witnessed air burns, a blinding and much, much worse, devastating for the dolphins that survived, because - as my pen colleagues always reminded me - many Atlanteans didn’t.
Working the pens was physically and mentally gruelling. Early training was always conducted lying belly down on wet platforms, so we could interact with our dolphin captives eye to eye. Fifteen-hour days were commonplace. Depriving the dolphins of sleep was an important method used to secure the quickfire results that management demanded.
It was here that I witnessed my first suicide dolphin – a phenomenon that the captive industry vehemently denies. It was also here where I learned to hand-catch in preparation for transports, veterinary treatments or force-feeds - the latter, horribly distressing.
The force-feeds consisted of wrapping disinfected towel gags around the upper and lower jaws of the manually pinned-down dolphins, followed by physically pushing lubricated herring down into their throats to activate their swallowing mechanism. This nightmare was normally performed five fish at a time, punctuated by brief rest periods. Even so, this was not always successful, as the dolphins often vomited back their forced feed.
Much worse than the vomiting, however, was the unseen damage inflicted on the dolphins’ psyches, because once they’d undergone this torturous procedure, they were left vulnerable to what many pen trainers refer to as the ‘dolphin mind-set’, a mental condition that, once activated, proves difficult to reverse … suicide by self-starvation.
In fact, my only fond memory of the pens was Duchess and Herb’e (Flippa), my beloved Perfect Pair, for it was their brilliance that allowed the three of us to escape that hellhole and head to our first purpose-built dolphinarium.
The rest, as they say, is history. Over the next three years, my two magnificent show dolphins took the aqua circus by storm, achieving the much-revered shadow ballet. Their story has been lovingly chronicled by the Holroyds in The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy book series - a warts-and-all exposé that I pray will help bring down this horrendous industry.
As for me, once I’d made my decision to walk away from the aqua circus, I was never tempted to return, despite a lucrative offer to train Europe’s then only captive orca. My reason? I viewed my achievements not with pride, but with shame. Nevertheless, despite the attempted cover-up, my experiences are now a documented part of UK dolphinarium history - a tool to shine a light into the sinister and murky world of captive cetaceans.
So, I humbly ask all prominent activist celebs, music-makers and global agents: if you care deeply about cetacean welfare, don’t let them stop this award-winning expose, because one day in the not-to-distant future, we may all awaken to empty oceans.
Thanks for listening and thank you, Frederic Egersdorfer, for giving me this platform. For more info, visit www.theperfectpairdolphintrilogy.com.
David Capello, former Head Dolphin Trainer, Entam Leisure
Only together are we strong
THE PERFECT PAIR DOLPHIN TRILOGY: ANOTHER TOP ACTIVIST CALLS OUT CORRUPTION-INFESTED ANTI-CAP CHARITIES
As we look back in time to our childhoods, I think a lot of people feel guilty, guilty because we once bought a ticket for a dolphin show. I guess we weren’t smart in those days, because so did I. But I made a pledge to myself: never, never again will I buy a ticket to see captive animals in zoos or aquariums.
The awareness of animal abuse brought about by the internet changed a lot. But was it in a positive way for captive animals? I’m not so sure, because, as long as there are hungry money grabbers in organizations and greedy politicians, the victories are likely to be very small.
Everything in life can be bought when you have lots of money, can’t it? But my question to these people is: how can you sleep at night? How many men and women who don’t have children have left legacies to the so-called charities, only for that money to vanish into the pockets of CEOs? Don’t these greedy people have any decency? They betray and deceive not only their own souls, but also gullible people and the innocent animals who are depending on us.
As for Taiji, I have great respect for the volunteers over there. They endure the bloody senseless murder of dolphins for 6 months a year. And yes, they don’t get paid, not a damn cent. The cost of travel and food is down to the volunteer himself. It’s the TOP of the organizations where things come unstuck. There you find the selfishness and the greed. Instead of working together and having a bigger chance of success, the big egos destroy everything that good people might achieve. And again, that leads us back to the ones who are depending on us - our beloved animals; killed, enslaved and mistreated for the entertainment of humankind.
It's a pity there aren’t more whistle-blowers like David Capello, Rick Trout and a few others. People have the right to know what’s going on behind the scenes.
One can become a trainer in a dolphinarium, where dolphins and orcas do tricks for food, used as entertainment for the crowd. All ex-trainer whistle-blowers are paying a debt to their beloved animals, because it is the trainers who have witnessed what the money grabbers are doing with innocent smart animals – the same money grabbers who treat animals like garbage. If the upkeep of the animals is more than the money rolling in: “Ah, we have to dump them!” But killing animals secretly and throwing them into the ocean, in my opinion, is nothing short of horrific.
As far as David Capello is concerned, this is a man with a big heart for animals. His dream became a nightmare. He became a trainer because his heart was filled with love for animals. He didn’t have a clue when he started his new job how animal welfare can be corrupted by greed. How must these beautiful intelligent dolphins - who are in many ways closest to humans - feel when someone is sitting on their back? Not convinced? Imagine your roles were reversed and think again please. I hope that more whistle-blowers will stand up and be counted. Only by working together can we successfully achieve improved welfare and survival rates for animals.
THE PERFECT PAIR DOLPHIN TRILOGY IS PROUD TO PRESENT A BLOG BY lifelong activist and FOUNDER OF australia's seaworld shut down
Animal activism is my life and always will be. I'm 62 now, but ever since I was a small child the admiration, love and respect for all beings has been in my heart and soul.
My mother was a gentle soul who showed me how to tend to their needs, while my father was the local Butcher!
I didn't realise where meat came from until I was about 11, so as soon as I twigged it started me on my cruelty-free lifestyle.
In 1975 when I was a teenager, I started my journey to help animals. One of my campaigns was SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PET SHOPS. I started it up about 18 years ago here in Australia and it received much media coverage, including radio, newspaper and magazine etc. I was also asked to go on a top-rated morning TV show to talk about it.
The campaign was all about saying no to pet shop animals, breeders and puppy farms. I spent a lot of money on the campaign (and received donations) but it was absolutely worth it because it was really the start of education here as to the cruelty of buying animals as opposed to adopting from pounds, shelters and rescue groups.
I've spent the last few decades attending protests outside of circuses and rodeos etc and I managed to raise $40,000.00 for Animal Liberation NSW (I was a member for decades since their early years) for a court case to help Arna, the lonely elephant, out of her cruel circus captivity.
It worked! Arna was moved to a beautiful sanctuary with other elephants.
I also still run a campaign on Facebook called SEAWORLD SHUT DOWN and on Twitter @seaworldisevil
I also managed to attract the top-selling newspaper in Australia to print a 6-page story on my SeaWorld campaign!
There are over 16,000 followers and we're all dedicated to opening the hearts and minds of the public, who probably think it's natural and fine to keep cetaceans in tanks for the pleasure of humans.
The tide is turning thanks to dedicated animal activists and social media.
When I started out it was all word of mouth and it was hard going. We'd just photocopy leaflets and hand them out, but now one tweet for instance can reach millions of people - and the media love to hear from activists when they have a story.
I have three grandchildren and they are mini activists. I never hide my light under a bushel; I speak up and educate wherever I can.
People need to be enlightened and animals need our voices.
All groups experience problems with those who are also working towards the same cause, which is still so strange to me.
I know that in the decades that I've been speaking up for animals, various people and even whole groups have conspired against me. It's naturally caused me great pain, but I finally learned to distance myself from their criticisms, which are mainly borne out of envy that I have the know-how to garner media attention, as I've worked in advertising and publicity.
Each campaign I've started has been quite successful, but other groups have spoken out against me. At first it shocked me to the core, but after hearing of other activists’ similar experiences, I know I'm not alone.
The thing is to just keep going and learn what you can from them, and vow not to do the same thing to others who are trying to help our furred, feathered and finned friends.
Still to this day, my name is mud in many animal welfare circles. I've been snubbed by so many people that I'm now immune. I just get better and wiser.
I'm lucky in that my husband and I always worked together. He broke into a pig farm a few years ago and the sickening footage he took was splashed all over Australian TV. Every little bit counts and matters. So, whatever you do to be a voice for animals is appreciated. Never give up and never let anybody get you down.
The animals need us.
June Bird - Sydney, Australia
RICK TROUT, EX-NAVY DOLPHIN TRAINER, JOINS THE PERFECT PAIR DOLPHIN TRILOGY IN CONDEMNING ACTIVIST, RIC O'BARRY
Attention all anti-captivity ceta activists. As many of you know, on 15th August 2019, we posted on Facebook and Twitter a damning comment alleging that Ric O’Barry of The Dolphin Project, Margaux Dodds of the UK charity Marine Connection and her then-cohort Gaye Hunter, purposely set out to discredit and organise a charity block of The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy exposé.
This was a decision we did not make lightly as we knew our allegation would send shockwaves through the anti-cap ceta industry. So, we prepared ourselves for the backlash to follow. What happened next, however, was the exact opposite - a revolt against the Ric O’Barry camp by prominent ceta activists and the much-respected former US Navy dolphin trainer Rick Trout of Save the Navy Dolphins. Rick Trout’s experience as a US marine mammal trainer, rescuer and advocate is second to none.
This is what he had to say:
Thanks Belinda Morris for alert on this all too familiar practice perfected by Ric the Cut Throat and Con Man O'Barry whose slime seems to be dripping through his ill-named son, Lincoln, into a NexGen class of crooks still riding the backs of captive dolphins like Ric rode Lolita's back in his 60s hippy days at Miami Seaquarium.
Reading O'Barry's Behind the Dolphin Smile is required reading for anyone wanting to understand he's not only cut throat but cut belly, a practice he perfected to sink and hide dolphins drowned in net capture operations in South Carolina waters to finally capture a lone white albino dolphin, "Snowball." She was imprisoned for display at MSQ only to die in 6 months, after which they taxidermy STUFFED her to still hang on public display, a tribute to the lengths this ghoul and his employer would go to exploit Marine Mammals. No surprise O'Barry's addiction to attention, pain killers, 5-star travel and accommodations have left him often bankrupt and in need of more and more blood money.
Let this stand as my intro to my many years as eye witness to a man who gloated at being the "Pastor of The Church of the Happy Dolphin" after his Behind the Dolphin Smile boosted his pocket book and profile into a new role as paid dolphin advocate instead of paid dolphin disemboweller.
Please read or re-read Behind the Dolphin Smile to learn, as I had to, how incredibly and dangerously narcissistic this self-proclaimed hero was when he destroyed the Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary in the 90s sending Navy dolphin Buck to his death due to malnutrition, and Navy dolphins Luther and Jake back to the Navy killing pens in San Diego as a result of Ric's illegal, ill-prepared and self-promoting dump and run release.
We all share Dolphin Project's philosophical disgust for the killing, exploitation and domination of our Marine Mammal neighbors. I dare say none of us share the guilt and mercenary motivations that DP's founder has used to taint and monkey wrench the advocacy/activism efforts necessary to fight both exploiters and ".orgs" Best nutshell advice that I was given by Joe and Rosie, dolphin release coordinator, who counselled me AFTER the Sugarloaf debacle, "Ric is a lone male hero who does not share the stage well with anyone." If Russ Rector was still here, he could fill in many more blanks that, if needed or desired, I will do as soon as I am able.
In reply to Tracy J Holroyd (co-author of The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy):
Thanks for reading my words with such sensitivity. I still hear Ric OBarry's haunting words in 1994, "We have to do this squeaky clean" in organizational meetings planning and dealing with Federal requirements to take Navy dolphins Luther, Buck and Jake, and Bogie and Bacall back to their home waters. What O'Barry kept very secret were the 3 self-promoting independent deals he made with French, German and British film teams to do a "dolphin release on Independence Day in 1995", a totally unrealistic date given the political hoops and bureaucratic realities confronting the challenges for any "squeaky clean" success that could have been a roadmap for Emptying the Tanks! Sadly, and just as secretly, Ric had received money up front from all 3 film makers to deliver Independence Day release footage in exchange for the balance. Sadly, Ric's Flipper days familiarity with navigating rich waters of filmmaking resulted in bankrupting the Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary and all future hope for releasing captive dolphins in America.
In reply to Shelley Mattocks (activist – Dolph N Whale Pub, Dolph ‘N’ Whale +, Mimi’s Wishes, “NATURE WARRIORS” bleed the green hearts):
You are so right. In addition to being prosecuted, found guilty and fined $60,000 for 6 violations of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act for the neglect of 6 Sugarloaf Sanctuary rescue dolphins Molly, Bogie, Bacall and Navy dolphins Jake, Luther and Buck who died from complications of injury and inability to adapt after the illegal and ill-conceived dump and run release; the Federal Judge told Ric O'Barry in 1996 that Ric had destroyed for decades the concept of returning American captive dolphins to their home waters. Sadly, the judge was right, and the captivity industry has been laughing at the advocacy/activist community and all the way to their blood money bank ever since.
One big difference between Russ Rector and Ric O’Barry was that Russ's pit bull biker activism came from his heart - not his wallet.
Lead rescuer/founder Marine Mammal Conservancy 1995-2005
Dolphin rescue and advocate/diver 2005-present
Former dolphin trainer at Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo
Former Dolphin Sea Lion Trainer whistle blower at Naval Ocean Systems Center
Former Swimmer Nullification Trainer at Navy dolphins
Former dolphin trainer at SAIC
Former Commercial Diver at The Ocean Corporation