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Will Virgin Holidays Stop Selling Tickets to SeaWorld?

Whale and Dolphin Conservation(WDC) led a second campaign late last year, following the success of Blackfish, to ask Sir Richard Branson to sever ties with SeaWorld by not selling any more trips through Virgin Holidays. For background information on the campaign, find the details here. In February, Sir Richard vowed not to promote any tourist attractions that will take marine animals from the sea.

“I’ve instructed Virgin Holidays not to deal with any organisation that does not pledge that they will never again take cetaceans from the sea,” says Sir Richard Branson. “We hope other holiday companies will follow suit. Since – I believe – animals bred in captivity cannot safely be released, we will examine what is best to do with this issue, and others, in the engagement process. As part of the process I will personally visit some of these facilities around the world.”

The engagement process was estimated to take about 6 months and include discussion on the following factors:

  • The role of captive cetaceans for education and raising awareness.

  • The issue of training captive cetaceans for entertainment.

  • The welfare of captive cetaceans, including the space given to them.

  • The breeding of cetaceans in captivity.

  • The reintroduction of captive cetaceans into the wild.

Sir Richard Branson called an unprecedented meeting to discuss the future of whale and dolphin captivity. In the press release WDC states:

WDC will be attending this important meeting in the USA on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 June, along with other whale and dolphin experts and representatives from the travel industry and SeaWorld. When we handed our petition to Virgin Holidays their spokesperson said that Virgin Holidays is “committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders across the spectrum of this discussion”. This is an amazing opportunity to present hard evidence proving how unsuitable whales and dolphins are for a life in a tank.

Speaking out against captive breeding and cetaceans for entertainment include Dr. Ingrid Visser (Orca Research Trust and Free Morgan Foundation), Dr. Naomi Rose (Animal Welfare Institute – AWI), Courtney Vail of WDC, Will Travers (Born Free Foundation) and Dylan Walker (World Cetacean Alliance – WCA). Let your voices be heard by signing the petition showing that captive breeding is just as bad as “collecting” from the wild. Stillborn calves, inbreeding, maternal deaths and eventual separation of mother and calf are only a few of the results of SeaWorld’s breeding program. Captivity will not end until SeaWorld’s breeding program ends.

Please sign and share to tell SeaWorld and Virgin Holidays that captive breeding is NOT acceptable.


Photo credit to Voice of the Orca‘s Jeff Ventre

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