Thomas Cook to end trips to parks with captive killer whales
Posted in 29/07/2018
A killer whale watches trainers at SeaWorld Orlando. Photograph: Phelan Ebenhack/AP - The Guardian
From The Guardian
Thomas Cook is to stop selling trips to animal parks that keep killer whales in captivity, following, it said, customer feedback and evidence from animal welfare specialists.
“This was not a decision we took lightly,” Peter Fankhauser, CEO of Thomas Cook Group, said in a blog posted on Sunday.
Tickets will not be available from the tour operator for the parks SeaWorld, in Florida, and Loro Parque, Tenerife.
“We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months, and taken account of the scientific evidence they have provided,” Fankhauser said. “We have also taken feedback from our customers, more than 90% of whom told us that it was important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously.”
Both SeaWorld and Loro Parque had passed the company’s audit process, and as a consequence 29 other attractions were removed from the firm’s books, following the introduction of a new animal welfare policy about 18 months ago.
Fankhauser said: “We respect and applaud the work that has been done, and we will work with both over the next 12 months to prepare for our exit. We will also continue to work ourselves to identify more sustainable alternatives.”
Thomas Cook’s decision follows a public backlash towards keeping killer whales in captivity which gathered pace after the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish. The film argued that orcas held in captivity become more aggressive towards humans and each other.