Virgin axes trips to SeaWorld amid welfare worriessento
Virgin stops selling captive whale and dolphin experiences
Virgin Holidays says it has stopped selling tickets to captive whale and dolphin experiences such as SeaWorld.
The firm said it had culled the last five such attractions it promoted, which accounted for more than 20,000 tickets sold last year.
In a blog, Virgin boss Richard Branson said the firm would now only “work with suppliers that don’t take sea cetaceans from the wild”.
Thomas Cook made a similar move a year ago amid concerns about animal welfare.
Animal rights activists say keeping cetaceans in captivity restricts their movement and can lead to aggressive behaviour, illness and even death.
- Thomas Cook axes trips to SeaWorld over animal welfare concerns
Virgin said it had been working towards its goal since 2014 when it sold tickets to about 20 captive whale and dolphin experiences.
The firm, which sells tickets to various attractions as part of its holiday packages, said the final destinations to be axed were:
- SeaWorld, San Diego
- SeaWorld, Orlando
- Discovery Cove, Orlando
- Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
- Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas.
However, it said it would still sell tickets to the hotels at the Atlantis resorts.
In July 2018 Thomas Cook stopped promoting animal parks that keep killer whales, saying 90% of its customers were concerned about animal welfare.
Asked why Virgin hadn’t followed suit then, Virgin said it had been keen to come up with alternatives to allow customers to see whales and dolphins in the wild.
Joe Thompson, managing director of Virgin Holidays, said: “We will instead focus our efforts on encouraging customers to see these creatures in the wild.
“We will also continue our efforts to support the development of sanctuaries for whales and dolphins currently in captivity.”