Former SeaWorld Trainer to Jet2Holidays: Stop Promoting Cruel Marine Parks

Former SeaWorld Trainer to Jet2Holidays: Stop Promoting Cruel Marine Parks

London – In a plea for compassion, former senior SeaWorld orca trainer – and The New York Times best-selling author – John Hargrove sent an urgent letter to Jet2holidays CEO Steve Heapy calling on him to ensure the company ends its promotion of attractions that exploit orcas and other dolphins as “unwilling circus clowns” and pointing out that “these facilities cause orcas a world of suffering and are not worthy of your support”.

Hargrove spent more than a decade working with 20 orcas – including some now held at Loro Parque, one of the facilities Jet2holidays sells tickets to – before resigning from his position so that he could speak out publicly against the horrors orcas and other dolphins endure and detail the detrimental physical and psychological effects of keeping them captive for entertainment.

In his appeal to the British package holiday provider, Hargrove also highlights the danger that these facilities pose to workers. He experienced firsthand “the inevitable aggression that stems from [orcas’] frustration and lack of enrichment” while “swimming with Keto, who went on to violently kill and mutilate trainer Alexis Martínez at Loro Parque on Christmas Eve 2009”.

Along with causing unnatural behaviour, a lifetime in a concrete tank takes a physical toll on these animals. “It leads orcas to gnaw on anything they can, including the gates and sides of their tanks, wearing their teeth down, even breaking them. Most develop ulcers, and all of them develop infections due to their living conditions,” writes Hargrove.


He concludes his letter with a poignant message to Heapy: “I urge Jet2holidays to be on the right side of history by ending the promotion of attractions that exploit orcas for human amusement. … [O]rcas and other dolphins belong in one place and one place only – the ocean.”

Hargrove joins over 45,000 PETA supporters, including singer Morrissey, who have urged Jet2holidays to drop marine parks from its itineraries. PETA US bought shares in the company in order to put pressure on decision-makers in the boardroom, and earlier this month, a PETA US representative spoke at Jet2’s annual meeting, calling on the company to join travel providers such as Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic Holidays, and British Airways Holidays in cutting ties with facilities that keep orcas and other dolphins in watery prisons.

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Lucy Watson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]