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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...

British Airways responds as petition reaches 100,000

A change.org petition set up by WDC supporter, Kathleen Haase, calling on British Airways to stop selling trips to SeaWorld now has over 100,000 signatures and has prompted the following response from British Airways:

In common with many airlines and travel companies in the UK, we offer services intended to make the booking of holiday experiences more convenient for members of the public who wish to visit SeaWorld attractions.

We offer similar arrangements in regard to theme parks and other places of interest at many destinations on our global network. Whether members of the public choose to make use of these arrangements is entirely up to them.

We note the concerns you have raised in relations to animal welfare. We feel sure you will be aware that regulation of animal welfare at SeaWorld is a matter for the relevant federal and state authorities in the US.

We have no reason not to have confidence in the expertise of these authorities in what is a highly specialised field far removed from the world of aviation.

Unfortunately, by booking through a trusted company like BA and without the necessary information to make an informed decision, many holidaymakers will continue to patronise SeaWorld and other facilities holding whales and dolphins in captivity.

Increasing numbers of holidaymakers are informed about the issues, though. A recent UK survey found 86% of tourists would not wish to visit facilities holding captive whales and dolphins as part of their holiday. US opinion is also turning against orca captivity.

Furthermore, US animal welfare legislation for marine mammals in captivity is woefully out of date and provides very little protection for captive whales and dolphins held in SeaWorld and other facilities. It also falls way behind standards in other countries such as Brazil (where there are no captive whales and dolphins) and Italy. WDC welcomes the recent passing of an amendment in the US Congress which will finally force the US authorities to update this legislation.

Unfortunately for BA, in this age of corporate responsibility, which has resulted in ABTA guidance on animal tourism and Virgin examining its relationship with facilities holding captive whales and dolphins, it can no longer hide behind its expertise in aviation.

If you haven’t already, please consider signing Kathleen’s petition and posting a polite message of concern on BA’s Facebook page. Thousands of others have!

About Cathy Williamson

Cathy Williamson was policy manager of our End Captivity Programme until July 2021.