Victory! Virgin Holidays Cuts Ties With SeaWorld and Other Animal ‘Abusement’ Parks

Posted by on July 16, 2019 | Permalink

Celebratory dances are happening at PETA today after the announcement that Virgin Holidays will stop selling tickets for tourism experiences involving the exploitation of captive whales and dolphins.

The travel giant said that it’ll end its partnership with notorious animal abusement parks such as SeaWorld and Discovery Cove.

PETA and our international affiliates have been campaigning for Sir Richard Branson’s company to stop selling trips to SeaWorld for the past four years, collecting over 310,000 signatures from supporters urging the travel provider to do the right thing. By cutting ties with places which hold orcas and other dolphins captive, Virgin Holidays is joining a growing list of companies that are no longer selling tickets to SeaWorld.

Growing Opposition

The documentary Blackfish exposed SeaWorld’s abuse of animals to the public. Its stock has tanked, and major US companies such as Southwest Airlines have severed ties with its parks – as has the UK’s biggest travel provider, Thomas Cook Group,  following a dedicated PETA campaign. Today, Virgin Holidays join the list – so why does TUI continue to offer its customers SeaWorld ticket deals? 

SeaWorld Sucks

At SeaWorld, orcas live in cramped, concrete tanks and are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. With no physical, mental, or emotional stimulation, they spend their days swimming in endless circles.

At least 41 orcas and dozens of other dolphins have died at SeaWorld parks from causes including severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, and chronic cardiovascular failure.

The park also imprisons bottlenose and Commerson’s dolphins, who are forced to perform tricks in shows day after day. Adults and children have been bitten by dolphins during these activities, and since 2008, 53 bottlenose and five Commerson’s dolphins have died at the parks.

What You Can Do

It’s time for TUI to follow in the footsteps of Virgin Holidays – and numerous other travel providers – and sever ties with these marine abusement parks.

When Virgin Holidays announced it would stop offering SeaWorld tickets, its CEO, Richard Branson, said it was “the most significant milestone yet” on its five-year journey to “drive positive change in the tourism industry”. It’s time for TUI to make a positive change, too.