UK travel company Thomas Cook have suspended their online promotion of SeaWorld following campaigning by PETA. PETA have gained support by 22,000 people sending emails and by staging peaceful protests outside of Thomas Cook branches.
This is yet another blow to SeaWorld since the documentary Blackfish, exposing the life of Tilikum, an orca kept in captivity by the park was released in 2013. Profits have plummeted, and in 2017 they reported a 16 per cent drop in net profits compared to the previous year.
PETA US recently became a shareholder of the travel company to be able to address the board directly in their annual general meeting in London, and discuss the company’s promotion of SeaWorld. During the meeting a protest was taking place outside, with ‘gravestones’ representing each of the 41 orcas that have died at SeaWorld.
PETA said in a statement about Thomas Cook: “This is a step in the right direction, but the company must go the whole way by dropping all ticket sales to the marine park if it’s to be an industry leader in animal welfare.
“Orcas are highly intelligent animals who live in large, complex social groups and swim up to 140 miles a day in the ocean. At marine parks such as SeaWorld, they’re confined to tiny concrete tanks, where they’re deprived of physical and psychological stimulation and forced to spend their days swimming in endless circles. At least 41 orcas and dozens of other dolphins have died in captivity at its facilities so far.
“By suspending online promotions of SeaWorld, Thomas Cook has shown that it understands that holding orcas captive for entertainment is unacceptable. PETA commends this decision, and we’re now calling on the travel provider to end ticket sales to the marine park altogether.
“In doing so, it would become and industry leader in animal welfare and set the bar high for others to follow.”