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
I was witness to much of what Rick Trout describes about the Bogie and Bacall and Navy dolphin disasters.
Thank you for your comment, Becky. If you should ever wish to write a blog about the horrors of the captive industry, we would be happy to publish it - anonymously if need be! Our aim is to smash cetacean abuse, and we can only do this with the help of people such as you. Thank you again.
I knew many things were wrong but I´m shocked to hear all this. So, it´s not surprising that Flipper gave him the perfect reply when he visited him in a narrow tank in New York. Dolphins never forget.
It is indeed a mystery how Ric O'Barry managed to promote his image as dolphin saviour, particularly when you read about the U.S. court case which convicted him of cetacean cruelty. Added to this, we have the testimony of other dolphin trainers/handlers who cannot find a good word to say about him. An even bigger mystery is why the charities support him and appear to hang on his every word - one of the reasons why they either attacked or ignored the David Capello expose, allowing O'Barry to maintain his tin-god status. And David Capello is not the only would-be cetacean whistleblower/activist to have fallen foul of O'Barry's underhand tactics. Judging from the comments on this post and DMs that we have received, there are many. Thanks for taking time to comment Leotien.
Those who resort to namd calling truly show their intelligence level. There are no facts presented here to support Mr. Yep it's vitriolic response. If anything, this article is ripe for a libel lawsuit. Good luck.
This account is far from name-calling, Jane; it is substantiated in part by a statement recorded by a Judge in a US Court of Law. And if you want to know about name-calling, you should see what Ric O'Barry's rambling email said about us! But, unfortunately, you won't be privy to this, as it WILL be saved for a Court of Law. Sadly, what really concerns us is the way some activists who purport to care about cetacean welfare are so quick to discount and trivialise the heartbreak behind Rick Trout's testimony. People like you clearly don't give a damn what happened to the dolphins who suffered and died. As for intelligence level, you might try re-reading your comment above - another ramble that doesn't quite make sense!
Well, what can I say about these jaw-dropping revelations by ex-US Navy marine mammal trainer and whistleblower Rick Trout - except a huge thank you for having the guts to make these horrors public. Knowing what I personally have been through with The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy expose here in the UK, I can only imagine the lengths certain US parties must have gone to cover your revelations up. Well, thanks to you, Mr Trout, the cover-up is no more. Your testimony is out there in the public domain; Mr O'Barry's colourful past laid bare in no uncertain terms. Let's hope your brave testimony inspires other whistleblowers to come forward and tell their stories, because we at the dolphin trilogy WILL give them a platform.
These revelations given by Rick Trout who worked alongside Mr. O’ Barry are absolutely HORRIFIC! I have known for a while now that he wasn’t what he professed to be, but I had no idea how bad he really is. I do want to say that I have the utmost respect for the volunteers who go to TAIJI and film that horrible scene at the killing cove. As for Mr. Ric O’Barry, I lost respect for him a long time ago! There have been rumbling for years that he is not what he professes to be. Greed can take over the people who start out with the best intentions. I feel that is why him and is cohorts perpetuated the charity and media block on The Holroyd’s Trilogy of books. His ego is so big that he couldn’t have another ex- trainer taking any of his thunder! I implore everyone who sees this to read The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy. These books changed me in a way I cannot put into words. These books could bring down the captive Cetaceans industry. Mr. O’Barry wouldn’t want that, because in my opinion, there goes his money flow! This is my opinion and I stand by it! If you read Rick Trout’s comments you SHOULD feel the same way!
Thank you, Kathy, for your warm and supportive words. Not only did the O'Barry fanclub (Margaux Dodds, Director of Marine Connection, and her cohort Gaye Hunter) deliberately go out to discredit the trilogy, they also drew in many of the activists and all the charity directors with whom they associated. We wonder: did the charities know of Mr O'Barry's horrific past, or did they simply not care? Either way, activists everywhere owe a huge debt of thanks to Mr Rick Trout who has brought this out into the open.
Thanks Kathy Harrison for shout out to Dolphin Projects Taiji efforts. My comments re: Ric OBarry's frauds & convictions for abuse of 6 dolphins at Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary in the 1990's was in NO WAY MEANT TO DEMEAN OR CRITICIZE DP EFFORTS EXPOSING TAIJI SLAUGGTERS. I have however drawn a clear line with Mr. O'Barry & his followers to never allow him near a live dolphin in need of rescue or even standard care. Ric used cruel & Taiji type methods in his role as Flippers trainer & Miami Seaquarium capture crew that filtered into his inadequate & criminal abuse at Sugarloaf. I strongly support any & all efforts including DP to expose & hopefully end the slaughters at Taiji & elsewhere. Please do any rescue/release work w/o O'Barry's negligence. There are many skilled, competent & experienced Marine Mammal rescue operations who can & have done far more humane rescue, rehab & release.
Thank you for your comment Mr. Trout. I support all volunteer efforts, because most volunteers do this with their hearts. They do it to really make a difference! It’s not about GREED, which I know is Ric O’Barry’s main motivation! I have been hearing about him for years now, but I was sickened by what I read in your blog! You are a true hero for putting this out there for all to see. His camp have become very silent since this blog was released, except for a few who are actually still support him. We call them so called activist. How can people still support Ric O’Barry? It baffles the mind! Thank you again.
Thanks for making further comment, Rick. Can I too lend my support and admiration to all those self-funding activists who record the horrors of the Taiji slaughter. Taiji - a Japanese ganster town that quite literally drinks the blood of Atlantis. Can I also lend my support for Kathy Harrison - a tireless activists who constantly puts the plight of animals before her own health. As for me, I hope that one day we will meet, Mr Trout, as I'm sure that as two ex-marine mammal whistle-blowers, we will have a lot of positive things to talk about, instead of the egotistical con-man, Ric O'Barry.
Kathy I couldn't have said it any better. These are my exact thoughts and feelings.
Thank you, Shelley, for your comment. You are quite right, this should always be about saving dolphins - not money or self-promotion. From what I am learning about Mr O'Barry, it seems he is very similar to the Backhouse character in The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy - he cares about himself, his reputation and his bank balance. Unfortunately, he's not alone in this. Any organisation that deals with the vulnerable, be they human or animal, will attract those who see a way of exploiting the compassionate and the gullible - charity directors being a prime example.
As we look back in time to our childhood, I think a lot of people are guilty, guilty because we had bought a ticket for a Dolphin show. I guess, we weren’t smarter those days. So did I. But I made a pledge to myself: never, never I will buy a ticket to see captive animals in Zoos or Aquariums.
GREED!!! What more can I say? Beside the fact, I am NOT shocked at ALL!!!
Thanks for your detailed comment, Nico; you've certainly gone to town on this - which is great!
WOW Nico! You hit the nail on the head with this post. I, for one would like to thank you for your comments.
“The fact that people like David, John and Rick decided to say "enough is enough" and stand up for what they believe in is truly commendable”
Thanks for your comment, Shelley, and please accept our apologies for taking so long to answer. During the furore caused by this post with so many comments, we obviously missed it.
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.
What a great comment, @GirlPower_2; this is good enough to be a standalone blog. Everything you have said, I agree with. The charities and the anti-captivity celebs that front them have completely lost the plot. They have become money-grabbing organisations where power and expert status rule all.
I was a witness also to what Rick Trout describes about Bogie and Bacall, the Navy Dolphins and the Sugarloaf Dolphin sanctuary where Ric O’Barry had the docks like a movie set with palm trees and all where the the navy dolphins were supposed to be rehabbed and released not just dumped. Ric O’Barry got off the truck with the dolphins in it to get himself ready for the camera instead of caring for the dolphins.
Thanks for taking the time to make comment, Sue. Being an early UK trainer meant that I had little knowledge of the depsicable goings-on at the Sugaroaf Sanctuary at the hands of Ric O'Barry. However, Mr Trout's testimony, along with yours and Becky's, have quite rightly brought O'Barry's skulduggery back into the public forum. Your comment doesn't make clear if you were a trainer or hander at the Sugarloaf facility, but it is clear that you are well-versed in the practices of Mr Ric O'Barry, which brings to mind a saying my late Dad always drummed into me: bad people never change; they just get older. An adage that seems to fit O'Barry perfectly. Thanks again for bringing this man's skeletons out of the cupboard. And if you should ever wish to write a blog on your experiences at Sugarloaf, The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy website will give you a platform.
Thank you everyone who has had the courage to make comment on this blog. We have received a lot of stick from so-called activists who believe that we should not have tarnished the great Ric O'Barry's name. I am disgusted at what I've heard about Ric O'Barry, and am even more disgusted with those activists who clearly place Mr O'Barry's reputation above dolphin welfare - and that includes the big charities. I can only say in their defence that they have NEVER worked with dophins and know very little other than what they have read in books and what Mr O'Barry tells them. Unfortunately, many of the O'Barry supporters are truly envious of those of you who have worked closely with dolphins and experienced their magic, despite the heartbreak it has caused you. Unbelievable. Thank you again.
Thank you, David Capello, for your comment. As good people, we all have the duty to stand up for the weakest. The weakest includes honest people and innocent animals. Anyway, this is my opinion.
Tracy and David..after reading all these comments Its almost like another chapter in your trilogy!! Tracy
It amazes me, Shelley, that even after reading this O’Barry horror story, some activists are still willing to believe that he’s changed; that all Ric O’Barry’s cruelty and manipulation of this industry is now in the past.
Thanks for your comment, Shelley. No, you're not wrong.
I interviewed Ric O'Barry in 1976, before he changed his last name (it used to be O'Feldman). Somehow the audio cassette survived, and I recently dubbed it to an audio file. I asked Ric if he wanted a copy.
Appreciate your comment, Malcolm Brenner (journalist and author of Wet Goddess). What you need to remember is that the plight of the captive dolphin is not deemed as newsworthy as that of their larger cousins, the orcas. Exposés by Hargrove and co are deemed far more ‘sexy’ in the eyes of the global media. A fact that motivates the media-savvy O’Barry to desperately hold on to his crown as sole whistle-blower against the captive dolphin industry. In my opinion, this twisted belief ties in with his refusal to give you permission to air his past interview, as the last thing he wants is to allow you or anyone else to jump on his exclusive dolphin-rescue bandwagon, as he does not want any deflection of attention away from himself. A ploy, according to whistle-blower Rick Trout, that O’Barry has used successfully in the past.
Thanks for commenting, Malcolm Brenner. I agree with Capello that the only reason O'Barry doesn't want his interview released is because he wants to be the only "dolphin-saviour" in town – he certainly doesn’t want you or anyone else on-board. There are a finite number of donations to share and, as one ex-dolphin handler said to me, O’Barry doesn't want "any more fingers in the honey pot".
WOW! This is exactly what should be out there Public as Any so called animal(s) “Charity” organisation(s) that takes public donations for purposes of lining their own pockets and life styles and promoting propaganda feeds.
Thank you for your comment and kind words, Bonnie Heather. It certainly is about saving marine mammals - at least it is for the compassionate and naive. Sadly, however, charitable organisations can attract fantastic amounts of money, so will inevitably attract people with self-serving agendas.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their kind words; I truly appreciate it. All I am doing, like all of us here, is putting my feelings on paper.
Thanks for taking the time, Nico, to write another insightful comment on what’s fast becoming an explosive blog. On a positive note, I concur that things are changing for the better regarding public awareness about the plight of our captive Atlanteans. On a not-so-positive note is the flak I have received on Twitter from Ric O’Barry lovers, who clearly deem his underhand dealings, recklessness and cruelty as being totally acceptable. Little wonder most ex-trainers and dolphinarium staff keep quiet about the atrocities committed behind the closed doors of the aqua-circus, because judging from what I’ve had to endure over the last decade at the hands of so-called caring activists, who in their right mind would want to be a whistle-blower?
Hi David Capello! Thank you for your honest reply, which I truly respect. As you have stated, "things are changing for the better regarding public awareness about the plight of our captive Atlanteans". Look what else has happened - Airbnb & TripAdvisor will no longer sell tickets to attractions with captive dolphins and whales! How great is that?
First off, sorry it took so long to reply, Nico. It’s so good to speak with someone so passionate about the plight of our global cetaceans; someone who sees beyond the doom and gloom that many of us feel about the slow pace of ceta welfare, reform and recognition. As for your comments on Ric O’Barry’s constant self-promoting skulduggery, judging by comments on this blog, this is nothing new for the O’Barry camp.
As most of you already know, this blog is causing a great deal of turmoil within ceta activism. Since posting, we as authors have been subject to constant abuse from so-called activists who would prefer that Ric O’Barry’s past stay buried. One such person is Terry Dark, a man who claims to be a personal friend of the Dolphin Project’s founder.
“Cowardice and Deflection" - how else can I sum up what has transpired in the last week, crossing multiple social media platforms? Apparently, some feathers have been severely ruffled within the anti-cap charities – from the damaging tell-all blog by Rick Trout to the Holroyds’ latest novel (released June 2020) "Belinda Fellgate: HellCat". All this has definitely caused an uproar.
Nothing to add to this excellent post, Nico! You've said it all! We will no longer allow ourselves to be dragged into rows. We have been naive enough to think that those who attack us actually have genuine concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth. As David Capello says: "This business is all about big reps, big money ... and big egos." Thank you for posting, Nico.
I have known Rick Trout since 1967. He has always been an honest, forthright person, and someone who doesn't hide his feelings. I visited him in the Keys (before he went to work for the Navy), and saw firsthand his love and respect for marine mammals. I talked with him after he left the Navy, and heard firsthand his horror stories of his experience there.
Thank you, Paul, for taking the time to make comment on the Trout/Capello blog. Although we don't know Rick Trout personally, we are aware of his tireless work as an advocate for marine mammals, which begs an important question: why aren't more ex-trainers and presenters coming forward to give Rick Trout and David Capello support? Why are these ex-dolphinaria workers choosing to stay silent when they know first-hand the horrors our captive dolphins and whales suffer daily? Food for thought for any ex-ceta handlers that may be reading this comment.
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David c holroyd & tracy j holroyd