PETA Crashes the World Travel Market to Stand Against Orca Abuse

Posted by on November 7, 2022 | Permalink

Today, PETA gate-crashed the World Travel Market trade show, where the biggest names in the travel and tourism industry come together. As the event kicked off and attendees congregated, activists ensured our banner stating “ABTA: Marine abusement parks kill. Declare them unacceptable!” raised some eyebrows. We encouraged attendees to head over to ABTA’s stand to urge the travel association to add facilities that keep cetaceans captive for entertainment to its “unacceptable practices” list, where they belong.

What Is ABTA? How Can It Help Orcas?

ABTA is the leading travel trade association for the UK travel sector. It informs the public and its members with its extensive guidelines, some of which cover animal welfare and advise against cruel practices like elephant riding.

Though it frowns upon animal performances at facilities like zoos, it doesn’t classify marine parks that keep cetaceans in captivity as unacceptable or advise its members to avoid promoting and selling tickets to these facilities.

ABTA must update its Animal Welfare Guidelines to add attractions that keep dolphins and whales imprisoned for entertainment to its “unacceptable practices” list. Until it does, the organisation is giving travel companies the green light to promote inhumane marine parks.

Confined to Small Tanks Full of Chemicals

At SeaWorld – the world’s most notorious marine park – orcas who would normally swim up to 150 miles a day are forced to spend their entire lives confined to cramped concrete cells filled with chemically treated water, in which they can do little else but swim in endless circles. Some break their teeth gnawing on metal bars or the sides of the tank out of stress and frustration.

Orcas are extremely sensitive to sound, which they use to talk to each other and navigate oceans, so noisy water pumps and loud crowds leave them disorientated and stressed. Inside the barren tanks, orcas are often housed in incompatible groups, unable to escape attacks from other frustrated animals. In nature, orcas can live for up to 90 years, but in captivity, they often die prematurely of stress-related illnesses, a result of their inadequate living conditions. More than 40 orcas and hundreds of other marine animals have died on SeaWorld’s watch – far short of their natural life expectancies. Since March 2021, three orcas (two of whom were born at SeaWorld and transferred) have died prematurely at another exploitative marine park called Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain – including Ula, who was just 2 years old; Skyla, who was 17; and most recently, in September 2022, Kohana, age 20.

Travel Providers Are Turning Their Backs on SeaWorld

After years of determined campaigning by PETA, almost every leading travel provider – including British Airways Holidays, Virgin Atlantic Holidays, Club Med, and Tripadvisor – has stopped selling tickets to parks that confine orcas in the name of entertainment.

However, companies such as TUI, ABTA’s largest member, and Jet2holidays continue to sell tickets to marine parks. ABTA must help stop this by updating its Animal Welfare Guidelines.

What You Can Do

Never visit marine parks, as buying tickets props up this archaic industry. Please also send a message to ABTA now, urging it to stop the exploitation of whales and dolphins in tourism: