Say NO to SeaWorld!

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By allowing SeaWorld’s float into the parade, Tournament of Roses officials are promoting an industry that routinely abuses animals, but now PETA is urging Tournament of Roses President R. Scott Jenkins to require an update to SeaWorld’s float design that more accurately depicts what the orcas at SeaWorld endure.


Our float design features an orca struggling to get free from a restrictive fish bowl, which is surrounded by a sea of chains and locks. The float’s tagline reads, “SeaWorld of Hurt—Where Happiness Tanks.”

Orcas are powerful, intelligent animals who, in their natural habitat, swim up to 100 miles a day and maintain complex social bonds with members of their pods. SeaWorld deprives orcas of all the richness of their natural environment while forcing them to “perform” silly tricks for amphitheaters full of noisy, frightening crowds.

Click here to tell Rose Parade officials to cancel the SeaWorld float, and tell everyone you know to stay away from SeaWorld.


Things at SeaWorld are not looking good—even its owners are jumping ship. Following declining ticket sales and a public outcry over the documentary Blackfish, the chair of SeaWorld’s  board of directors David D’Alessandro sold 43,179 shares of the company’s stock.

The move is not surprising considering the criticism that SeaWorld has faced since Blackfish aired on CNN in October and November. The documentary trended on Twitter during its first airing, and it’s continued to receive attention as dozens of celebrities such as Rob Lowe, Zach Braff, and Michelle Rodriguez urge their followers to boycott the marine animal prison. PETA, too, has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of Blackfish: Most recently, PETA demonstrators protested a SeaWorld float that is scheduled to appear in the Rose Parade this January, and PETA called on authorities in Florida to charge SeaWorld with felony cruelty to animals.


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The Heartbreaking Real-Life Capture of #Orcas

See on Scoop.itVia @VidarOceans Protecting the Oceans

IN 1970, MORE THAN 90 ORCAS WERE STALKED AND HERDED into a three-acre net by deafening explosives, speedboats and airplanes at Puget Sound, a deep inlet of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington. Alongside the hired captors was Terry Newby, a young marine mammal researcher (in the red and blue sweater). Images taken by Dr. Newby himself tell the story of the horrific captures that led to a lifetime of confinement and exploitation of orcas in marine parks and aquariums around the world.

Once the 80 orcas were corralled and trapped, boats with scuba divers circled the pens and monitored the orcas day and night to prevent anyone from helping them escape.

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Scientists find brain region that helps you make up your mind | PsyPost.

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One of the smallest parts of the brain is getting a second look after new research suggests it plays a crucial role in decision making.

A University of British Columbia study published today in Nature Neuroscience says the lateral habenula, a region of the brain linked to depression and avoidance behaviors, has been largely misunderstood and may be integral in cost-benefit decisions.

“These findings clarify the brain processes involved in the important decisions that we make on a daily basis, from choosing between job offers to deciding which house or car to buy,” says Prof. Stan Floresco of UBC’s Dept. of Psychology and Brain Research Centre (BRC). “It also suggests that the scientific community has misunderstood the true functioning of this mysterious, but important, region of the brain.”

In the study, scientists trained lab rats to choose between a consistent small reward (one food pellet) or a potentially larger reward (four food pellets) that appeared sporadically. Like humans, the rats tended to choose larger rewards when costs—in this case, the amount of time they had to wait before receiving food–were low and preferred smaller rewards when such risks were higher.

Previous studies suggest that turning off the lateral habenula would cause rats to choose the larger, riskier reward more often, but that was not the case. Instead, the rats selected either option at random, no longer showing the ability to choose the best option for them.

The findings have important implications for depression treatment. “Deep brain stimulation – which is thought to inactivate the lateral habenula — has been reported to improve depressive symptoms in humans,” Floresco says. “But our findings suggest these improvements may not be because patients feel happier. They may simply no longer care as much about what is making them feel depressed.”


Floresco, who conducted the study with PhD candidate Colin Stopper, says more investigation is needed to understand the complete brain functions involved in cost-benefit decision processes and related behaviour. A greater understanding of decision-making processes is also crucial, they say, because many psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, stimulant abuse and depression, are associated with impairments in these processes.

The lateral habenula is considered one of the oldest regions of the brain, evolution-wise.

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Home | Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project: Latest campaigns from the Dolphin Project.

See on Scoop.itVia @VidarOceans Protecting the Oceans


Orcas and Dolphins Do Not Belong in Captivity!
Learn More »Dolphin Personhood.
Learn More »DANGER: Dolphin Meat is Poisoned by Mercury.
Learn More »What Are the Alternatives?
Learn More »Releasing Captive Dolphins.
Learn More »


About Us

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is a campaign under the International Marine Mammal Project at the non-profit Earth Island Institute. The Dolphin Project aims to stop dolphin slaughter and exploitation around the world.  This work has been chronicled in films such as A Fall From Freedom, the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, and in the Animal Planet mini-series Blood Dolphin$.

Campaigns for dolphin protection are currently underway in a variety of locations around the globe, including the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Egypt, and Singapore.

Earth Island Institute

The Dolphin Project is a proud part of the Earth Island Institute, a non-profit, tax deductible organization founded in 1982. The Earth Island Institute has a long and active history in dolphin-related causes. In 1986, through the International Marine Mammal Project, EII organized a campaign to urge U.S. tuna companies to end the practice of intentionally chasing and netting dolphins with purse seine nets, and to adopt “Dolphin Safe” fishing practices to prevent the drowning of dolphins in tuna nets. This campaign included a consumer pressure, litigation, and revisions of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.  In 1990 a major breakthrough was achieved and the first companies pledged to become dolphin-safe.  Today 100% of American tuna have become verifiably dolphin safe. Through the International Monitoring Program, the Earth Island Institute regularly inspects tuna companies to insure consumers that the tuna they buy is truly “dolphin safe.”

Earth Island Institute is an umbrella organization with has more than 60 projects working for the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the Earth. For more information, please visit:


Ric O’Barry, Campaign Director 

Richard O’Barry has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.
In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name.  He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi.  When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.
From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.
Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.
O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program.  He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication.  He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.
In January 2006, O’Barry became Marine Mammal Specialist for Earth Island Institute, where he is also the Director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project and Save Japan Dolphins Campaign.

Dave Phillips, Executive Director 

Biologist David Phillips is Co-Executive Director of the Earth Island Institute, which he co-founded in 1982. He also directs the Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project.

David has been a non-governmental representative to numerous international marine conventions, including the International Whaling Commission, and has testified before the US Congress on marine mammal protection, endangered species conservation, and the impacts of trade on the environment.  His direction of the Institute was acknowledged by the United Nations Environment Programme, which granted their Leadership Award in honor of his efforts to protect dolphins from indiscriminate fishing techniques.  The Earth Island Dolphin Project’s success in negotiating an agreement with the world’s largest tuna companies to adopt fully “dolphin-safe” policies was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the most significant environmental victories of the decade.

In 1995, David founded the Free Willy – Keiko Foundation, and was awarded the Joseph Wood Krutch Medal by the Humane Society of the US for his efforts on behalf of marine mammals. He has been involved in the development and implementation of numerous pieces of legislation pertaining to marine conservation, including the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act of 1990, the International Dolphin Conservation Act of 1992, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director 
Mark J. Palmer graduated with a BA in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley, during which time he founded and led the Endangered Species Committee of California.

Mark has since served as Regional Vice President for the Sierra Club for Northern California and Nevada; Chairman of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlife Committee; and Chairman of the Sierra Club’s Arctic Campaign Steering Committee. He has been Executive Director of the Whale Center (1986-1990) and the Mountain Lion Foundation (1990-1995), before coming to Earth Island Institute.
Mark has more than 40 years of experience lobbying in the California State Capitol in Sacramento and in the U.S. Congress in Washington DC on wildlife and wilderness issues, as well as experience with the Japanese-American Environmental Conference, the International Whaling Commission, and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. He is editor of the daily newsletter ECO distributed at International Whaling Commission meetings. He was a consultant for the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove, and appears in the Animal Planet series Blood Dolphin$.

Mark Berman,  Associate Director

Mark Berman joined Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project in 1991. He previously worked as a volunteer advocate for Dolphin Safe tuna and to advocate for the ban on the captivity of cetaceans in marine parks in South Carolina. Mark led the successful campaign to halt construction of a large dolphinarium in South Carolina in 1990, and was instrumental in passage of a law in the state to ban the captivity of cetaceans. South Carolina is currently the only state with such a law in effect.

At Earth Island Institute, Mr. Berman assists in the direction of the International Monitoring Program for Dolphin Safe tuna, supervising staff in 15 countries. He also was a founding staff for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation in 1994 with David Phillips. Mark helped lead an unprecedented, five country program to rescue, rehabilitate, and release Keiko, the star orca whale from the hit movie Free Willy.

Mark also works with the European Dolphin Safe Monitoring Organization to promote and license the registered dolphin safe logo for the canned tuna processors, retailers and importers in the EU. In addition, Mark has recently worked on campaigns to end the drive fishery of dolphins in Japan, to halt the expansion of Ocean Adventure in the Philippines and the mass capture of live dolphins in the Solomon Islands for export to marine parks worldwide.

Mary Jo Rice, Associate Director 

Mary Jo Rice works with the Dolphin Project and the Save Japan Dolphins Campaign in the areas of educational outreach, volunteer and internship management, fundraising, event planning, grassroots organizing, and campaign planning and implementation.

Mary Jo is the former Executive Director of Seaflow, and she organized the North American Ocean Noise Coalition, bringing together more than a dozen national and regional environmental organizations to collaboratively address ocean noise pollution issues. She has also led a major open space acquisition effort in Marin County, which won her the designation of “Environmental Hero” in Barry Spitz’s book, Open Spaces. For her successful leadership roles in various environmental campaigns, particularly in protecting ocean life, she received the 2006 Resource Conservation Award from the Sierra Club’s Marin Chapter.

Mary Jo received a B.S. degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1974, graduating summa cum laude. She and her husband live at the edge of open space in the Marin County, CA hills, where they raised their two children.

Laura Bridgeman, Program Associate 

Laura has always been passionate about cetaceans and the natural world. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, where she obtained her degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Ottawa, she found her way to Earth Island in order to make significant contributions to the increasingly relevant dialogue about cetacean rights. She brings her many years of experience in environmental and animal rights activism to bear upon her work at Dolphin Project. She develops and leads strategic campaigns, employs grassroots activism and maintains a strong international presence for Dolphin Project through social media and news networks.

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30 charity chiefs paid more than £100,000 – Telegraph.

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The leaders of some of the biggest charities risk bringing “the wider charitable world into disrepute” by taking large pay rises while donations are falling, according to the regulator.


The number of executives receiving six-figure salaries at Britain’s 14 leading foreign aid charities has risen by nearly 60 per cent, from 19 to 30, over the past three years.

The charities make up the Disasters Emergency Committee, a 50-year-old group which comes together to coordinate work at times of tragedy around the world.

Research found that the number of staff on salaries of more than £60,000 jumped by 16 per cent to 192 between 2010 and 2012. In some cases the pay of senior staff increased despite falling revenues and donations.

Is it acceptable for charity chief executives to earn £100,000?No. Donors want their cash to go to the poor, not executives. Comparisons with what people might earn in the private sector are wholly false.Yes. These people manage huge budgets and make life-or-death decisions. You have to pay for talent.VoteView Results


The figures will fuel concerns that wage inflation in other public bodies such as local authorities is now leaking into the charity sector and driving up pay among top managers.

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Getting executive pay right is critical to public trust and confidence in charities 

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Some of the executives were paid more than the Prime Minister’s £142,500 a year in 2013, which is used by ministers as a Whitehall high water mark.

William Shawcross, the chairman of the Charity Commission, warned that charities were risking their reputations if they were not being seen to get a grip on boardroom excess.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “It is not for the commission to tell charities how much they should pay their executives. That is a matter for their trustees.

“However, in these difficult times, when many charities are experiencing shortfalls, trustees should consider whether very high salaries are really appropriate, and fair to both the donors and the taxpayers who fund charities.

“Disproportionate salaries risk bringing organisations and the wider charitable world into disrepute.”

The analysis also shows these charities are heavily reliant on public funds, having received more than £1.1billion of public money over the past three years from a range of sources, including the Government, the European Union, United Nations and councils.

Despite receiving these large amounts of money, the charities are not subject to the same level of scrutiny or accountability as government departments or quangos.

Priti Patel, a Conservative MP who helped to compile the figures, said: “Hard-pressed taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent and will be shocked to see so many highly paid executives in charities that are dependent on public funds.

“This money should be focused on delivering frontline services rather than lining the pockets of unaccountable charity executives.

“As more public money is being given to charities to run services, they need to become more accountable to the public and subject to greater scrutiny and transparency.”

The charities are not required to detail how much their top executives are paid by name, and many express the sums in bands, disguising the true figure.

However, The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Sir Nick Young, the chief executive of the British Red Cross, saw his pay jump by 12 per cent to £184,000 since 2010, despite a one per cent fall in the charity’s donations and a three per cent fall in revenues.

Others in the same pay bracket included Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, a former adviser to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when they were Prime Minister.

The charity said Mr Forsyth received £163,000 last year, just less than Anabel Hoult, its chief operating officer, who was paid £168,653.

Revenue at the charity is down three per cent since 2010, although donations were up markedly.

Chris Bain, the director of Catholic aid charity Cafod, saw his pay jump by nine per cent between 2010 and 2012, from £80,000 a year to £87,000 a year. Over the same period donations and revenue rose 16 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

Richard Miller, director at ActionAid, saw his pay increase by eight per cent to nearly £89,000 a year, while both revenues and donations fell 11 per cent.

The top paid executive at Christian Aid was Loretta Minghella, a former chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, who was paid £126,072 this year, up from £123,729 last year and £119,123 the previous year.

At Oxfam, former chief executive Dame Barbara Stocking saw her pay rise over the three years, while revenues fell but donations increased.

A spokesman for the Disasters Emergency Committee said boardroom pay at the organisations was “broadly in line” with other charities.

The spokesman said: “The Disasters Emergency Committee plays no part in setting executive salaries at our member agencies but we believe these salaries are broadly in line with pay at other charities of comparable size.

“To ensure the most effective use of appeal funds, a balance must be struck between minimising overheads and ensuring a robust management system is in place.

“Good management of emergency responses in the UK allows our member agencies to deliver the planning, monitoring, accountability and transparency that this work requires and that the public rightly demands.

“The proportion of DEC appeal funds that can be spent by member agencies on the UK management of their disaster responses is capped at seven per cent.

“Over the past five years the DEC has raised over £193 million for its appeals and the cost of raising those funds was less than four per cent of that total.”

A Save the Children spokesman said: “We pay appropriately competitive wages that are benchmarked regularly against two external salary surveys.

“Last year this was supported by an in-depth external benchmarking report from Towers Watson, an expert remuneration agency.

“Remuneration is then decided by the board’s performance and remuneration committee.

“We want to save more children’s lives. We can’t — and shouldn’t — compete with salaries in the private sector, but we need to pay enough to ensure we get the best people to help our work to stop children dying needless deaths.”

A Cafod spokesman said that its director’s pay “remains much lower than any of his counterparts in the biggest NGOs, and has only risen in recent years in line with the increase for other Cafod members of staff”.

A Christian Aid spokesman said: “Christian Aid is mindful of not paying higher salaries than are necessary and/or reasonable.

“The board of trustees has a strict policy that requires us to set salaries at or below the median of other church-based and/or international development agencies.”

The spokesman added that Ms Minghella “brings substantial experience and skills in managing a large and complex operation to Christian Aid, strengths which are reflected in her salary that is on a level comparable with that of others of like position in the sector”.

Janet Convery, ActionAid’s director of communications, said: “Richard Miller’s salary is well below the market rate for a chief executive of a major development charity.”

In a statement, Oxfam said Lady Stocking was due to paid £119,560 in 2012/13 – which means that her pay increased by 19 per cent from £100,008 in 2009/10 “which is in the lower quartile of what other large charities paid for their chief executives”.

It said that Lady Stocking, who left in February, “could expect to earn at least £75,000 more for a comparable job in the private sector”.

It added: “Our chief executive’s pay has increased in recent years because our remuneration committee judged that it was becoming uncompetitive with the rewards on offer at other similar organisations of comparable size.”

A spokesman said: “We believe this is fair reward for a job that involves long hours, large amounts of time away from family and overseeing a £360 million organisation that runs everything from a 700-branch national shop network to major emergency responses and long term development work to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet.

“Our chief executive is also responsible for more than 5,000 staff and tens of thousands of volunteers. We pay our chief executive less than other charities of similar size and scope – and considerably less than someone could expect to earn running an organisation of this size and complexity in the private sector. Our market research showed that, in the same year, the median pay of other large charity chief executives was £135,700.”

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