British Airways has stopped selling tickets to SeaWorld after Virgin Holidays and other travel firms dropped the ‘cruel’ tourist attraction

BRITISH Airways will no longer sell tickets to attractions such
as SeaWorld which feature animals including whales and dolphins in
seemingly cramped enclosures.

The news comes just weeks after Virgin Holidays announced a
similar move.

British Airways will no longer sell tickets to attractions with animals in cramped enclosuresBritish Airways will no longer sell
tickets to attractions with animals in cramped enclosuresAlamy

British Airways made the announcement following a new long-term
partnership between the airline and leading international wildlife
charity Born Free.

British Airways Holidays has been working with Born Free over
the last year to develop a new animal welfare strategy, which
launched on Thursday.

The strategy sees the travel company commit to never promoting
the captivity of wild animals and discouraging its hotel partners
from doing so.

From now on all attractions where captive wild animals are
central to the attraction have been removed from its website,
BA.com.

Attractions such as SeaWorld will no longer be partnered with British Airways HolidaysAttractions such as SeaWorld will no
longer be partnered with British Airways HolidaysAlamy

While it will continue to offer customers the opportunity to
book rooms in certain hotels that keep wild animals onsite,
customers will not be able to book tickets for any animal
attractions through British Airways Holidays.

These hotels will be clearly labelled as keeping wild animals
onsite in captivity to allow customers to make an informed choice
when booking their holiday.

Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays
said: “Our customers tell us they have concerns about wild
animals being kept in captivity, and increasingly see animal
performances in particular as outdated.

“We are delighted to have worked with Born Free to develop our
new strategy which allows our customers to make more informed
choices and we are contacting all our hotel and attraction partners
about our new approach.”

Attractions that feature dolphins and whales are part of the changeAttractions that feature dolphins and
whales are part of the changeReuters

However, the boss of SeaWorld accused British Airways Holidays
of “succumbing to pressure” from activists,
according to Travel Weekly
.

SeaWorld CEO Gus Antorcha said: “When radical animal rights
activists mislead and manipulate the truth to the detriment of our
planet’s critically endangered animals, you have to question
their motives.”

He added that he was “disappointed” in the move by British
Airways.

The new policy is being announced at the same time as Born Free
launches its new global
online alert system
, giving customers the opportunity to report
captive animal suffering.

WHALE
JAILS SeaWorld trainers confess killer whales were drugged with
valium and starved so much they had stomach ulcers and
self-harmed

Dr. Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, at
Born Free said: “We are delighted that as part of our new and
exciting partnership, British Airways Holidays has committed to
supporting both the creation of a new sanctuary space for rescued
wild animals and to support our new initiative Raise the Red
Flag.

Conservationists such as Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)
was among groups that applauded BA’s decision.

They said: “WDC met with BA representatives to present
scientific evidence that these creatures are not suited to life in
tanks, and also presented over 300,000 public signatures to our
petition asking the airline to stop selling the tickets that helped
fund the cruel whale and dolphin captivity industry.

“The announcement represents another huge success for WDC’s
ongoing campaign to stop tour operators promoting and supporting
the captivity industry and follows shortly after Virgin Holidays,
another WDC campaign target, announced it is also dropping
SeaWorld.”

The news follows in the footsteps of Virgin Atlantic and Thomas CookThe news follows in the footsteps of
Virgin Atlantic and Thomas CookAlamy

WDC’s campaign film, A letter to Richard Branson, made media
headlines and has been watched by over 100,000 people on
YouTube.

An immediate instruction to Virgin Holidays by Sir Richard
followed,
stopping work with any aquarium or theme park
that continued to
capture whales and dolphins from the wild or import whales and
dolphins taken from the wild.

Joe Thompson, Virgin Holidays’ managing director said at the
time: “Virgin Holidays has decided to stop selling and promoting
captive cetacean (whale and dolphin) experiences, as we look to
focus on offering customers more natural, at-distance encounters
with these animals.

“This decision means that we will be ending our long term
partnerships with the likes of SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and other
similar facilities.”

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Thomas Cook stopped promoting
and selling tickets to SeaWorld
last year after a number of animal rights protests.

SeaWorld was forced to
stop pool performances with killer whales
following the
controversial documentary Blackfish.

The 2013 documentary revealed the life of Tilikum, a killer
whale who killed his trainer in 2010, who
later died in 2017
.

Sun Online Travel has contacted SeaWorld for comment.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
British Airways has stopped selling tickets to SeaWorld after Virgin Holidays and other travel firms dropped the ‘cruel’ tourist attraction