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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...

Forgotten dolphins #1 – Why British Airways must end its support for SeaWorld

There is a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. The 29 orcas held in marine parks by SeaWorld will be the last.

In March this year, SeaWorld surprised us all with its announcement that it will stop breeding orcas and end the theatrical shows. The corporate giant bowed to public pressure in a move that gives us hope for the future. We have worked towards this for decades and we are proud of the role we have played in bringing SeaWorld to this historic decision. I would like to thank every single one of our supporters for their part in making this happen.

The documentary film Blackfish got the world talking, on a scale we had never seen before, about the devastating plight of orcas in captivity. People’s hearts went out to Tilikum, a whale so broken by his experiences at the hands of humans and his ‘life’ of desperate and utter deprivation, he became a killer. Orcas became the symbol of everything that is wrong with the human desire to subjugate other beings.

SeaWorld’s announcement heralds the dawning of a new, more conscious age but sadly, does nothing for the 168 other whales and dolphins imprisoned by SeaWorld. They will still be bred. They will still be forced to perform stupid tricks to be rewarded with dead fish. While 29 orcas are still held by SeaWorld and while 168 whales and dolphins of other species are still bought, bred and confined in its tanks and pools, we have a duty to keep fighting for an end to the cruelty. 

You can help – sign and share our petition now.

Back in 2014, we launched a campaign with the aim of stopping UK holiday companies selling tickets to these whale and dolphin circuses. We have made some tremendous progress, but we have a long way to go. Days after we launched our campaign, Sir Richard Branson instructed Virgin Holidays not to do business with facilities that take whales and dolphins from the wild, and he called a ground-breaking summit. He brought together representatives of the captivity industry, the travel industry and whale and dolphin welfare experts. We were, and continue to be, a part of that historic discussion.

With public support, we held ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, to account and urged it to enforce its own rules on whale and dolphin welfare. We provided consultation on ABTA’s animal welfare guidance and now we input to their welfare working group regularly as a result of our campaigning.

One of the most high-profile targets of our campaign has been British Airways. Working in partnership with WDC supporter Kathleen Haase and change.org, our campaign to stop BA selling trips to SeaWorld became the most signed animal-related petition ever on change.org in the UK with more than 277,000 signatures. When we met with BA to present the petition, they asked us for irrefutable evidence that whales and dolphins are not suitable for a captive life. We provided this evidence in bucket loads but BA chose to ignore it, preferring to believe SeaWorld’s claims that the whales and dolphins in its tanks are fine.

Well, it looks as though BA chose the wrong side to believe, doesn’t it. SeaWorld’s announcement is a tacit admission that keeping orcas in tanks is wrong. It’s time for British Airways to face the facts and end its support for cruelty.

British Airways has a new CEO in Alex Cruz and we hope that he will be more receptive to the truth. Most people do not want to see whales and dolphins in tanks – Mr Cruz needs to listen to his customers and to science and end BA’s partnership with SeaWorld.

Add your voice to our campaign now. Please sign and share our petiton.

About Julia Pix

Communications manager - Public Engagement