2017 Summit: The Legality of Orcas in Human Care

Saturday, March 11, 2:40pm, Weinmann Hall, Room TBD

This panel will dive into the legal issues surrounding the future of orcas in human care facilities. Critics of these human care facilities believe the animals’ rights have been violated and, through litigation, have successfully banned breeding and incorporated new practices into SeaWorld’s policies. However, many members of the marine mammal care community feel changes are not only potentially harmful to the species, but also directly impede the valuable research, rescue, and rehabilitation abilities of these facilities. The panelists will discuss both sides of these legal and ethical arguments, including the future of orcas and marine mammals in human care.

Carney Anne Nasser, Associate Director, Captive Animal Law Enforcement, PETA Foundation

carney-anne-nasser-webCarney Anne Nasser, one of New Orleans Magazine’s Top Female Achievers for 2016, is one of the PETA Foundation’s three in-house captive wildlife legal specialists. She provides the organization with critical expertise regarding the federal Endangered Species Act, the federal Animal Welfare Act and she also strategizes and deploys creative strategies to ameliorate the exploitation of big cats, elephants, bears, primate, orcas, and other captive exotic and endangered animals. Carney Anne draws on her professional expertise to provide additional counsel on regulatory matters, legislative policy, lobbying, and trends in animal law. This expertise includes more than ten years of litigation work in private practice, government, and the nonprofit sector. Prior to re-joining PETA Foundation in December 2016, Carney Anne served as senior attorney for wildlife and regulatory affairs at the Animal Legal Defense Fund from 2014-2016, and from 2010-2014, served as litigation counsel for the PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement department—the same department she has recently rejoined. Carney Anne has played a key role in the rescue of nearly two dozen exotic animals, who are now thriving in reputable sanctuaries. An internationally recognized expert on captive wildlife, Nasser recently represented the Animal Legal Defense Fund at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) seventeenth meeting of the parties in Johannesburg, South Africa and at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in September 2016.

Carney Anne holds a B.A. in political science from U.C. San Diego, a J.D. from Tulane University, and a graduate degree in community advocacy from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Carney Anne is a recognized speaker on the national circuit and has served as national and international media spokesperson on a wide range of animal protection issues, including a recent appearance on NBC’s nationally syndicated Today Show, where she was called upon to impart her thoughts about the use of live tiger mascots by Louisiana State University.

Robin B. Friday, Sr., Founder of Wildlife International Network and serves as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Embassy, Inc. and Wildlife International Network, Inc.

robin-fridayBeginning his marine mammal experience at the SeaWorld parks, Robin Friday held positions as Curator and Director of the Animal Training, Aviculture, and Animal Care departments over a period of 18 years. He also led the development of Discovery Cove, Orlando (a $121 US million dollar dolphin interaction facility built by Busch Entertainment Corp.). Following his SeaWorld tenure, Friday served as General Manager of Marineland Foundation, Inc., a 501©(3) corporation, where he designed and implemented a dolphin interaction program. As Project Manager for Ocean Futures Society (OFS – Jean-Michele Cousteau Institute) he led a special project team from 1998 to 2000 to rehabilitate Keiko the killer whale, of “Free Willy” fame. Milestones achieved while managing the Keiko project included: strategic reorganization of project objectives and organizational structure on site in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland; construction of an 800 ft. barrier net across Klettsvik Bay, Iceland; development of regulatory and protocol guidelines which resulted in the Icelandic government awarding release permits to OFS; and completion of the world’s first successful open-ocean behavioral conditioning of a captive killer whale. Friday also managed the development of the world’s first marine mammal teaching hospital for the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Department at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Ft. Pierce, Florida, a $26 million expansion. Responsibilities included: implementing government regulatory requirements, overseeing operational budgets, staff management and support of the Southeast Stranding Network.