The holiday company Thomas Cook have announced that as of summer 2019, they will no longer be selling tickets to the marine tourist attraction SeaWorld as well as any other tourist attractions that keep killer whales.
In his blog on Sunday, chief executive of Thomas Cook, Peter Fankhauser revealed that the decision had been made for a number of reasons and was “not a decision we took lightly”.
Scientific evidence provided by animal welfare groups was also taken into consideration as well as feedback received from customer surveys that revealed more than 90 per cent of Thomas Cook customers thought “it was important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously”.
There has been evidence for a while now that SeaWorld is a cruel attraction and the welfare of the sea creatures in their care was not being considered.
The Netflix documentary Blackfish that was made in 2013 about killer whale Tilikum highlighted the grave issues surrounding killer whale attractions and the stark reality of keeping these wild mammals in captivity. The documentary detailed the capture of Tilikum in 1983 off the coast of Iceland and followed the killer whale’s life in captivity, comparing it to the life of a killer whale in the wild.
Thomas Cook sells over 10,000 trips a year to SeaWorld in Florida, however this has not deterred the company from ceasing ticket sales for both parks including SeaWorld in Tenerife with Fankhauser stating that “when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them.”
The news comes after publishing giant Dorling Kindersley announced recently that they will no longer be supporting tourist attractions that offer animal rides. In addition to this, they will not provide information about these attractions their travel guides and instead, they will highlight the controversy surrounding animal attractions.
As well as this news from Thomas Cook, major newspapers continue to document the heart breaking story about the orca who for 6 days now continues to push her dead calf around, proving that these fantastic creatures are capable of such a range of emotions.