UK’s Largest Travel Association Under Fire From MPs and NGOs

UK’s Largest Travel Association Under Fire From MPs and NGOs

London – This week, animal welfare groups PETA, World Cetacean Alliance, World Animal Protection, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Animal Aid and several members of parliament rushed a letter to the chief executive of ABTA, the UK’s leading travel association, with an urgent request. They stressed that ABTA must add visits to facilities that exploit whales, dolphins, and other cetaceans for entertainment to its list of unacceptable and discouraged practices.

The letter points out that ABTA discourages elephant rides yet gives no decisive advice about captive cetacean attractions – which means that ABTA members, such as TUI, continue to sell tickets to these unethical operations. This also means that tourists are unwittingly supporting marine parks that imprison sensitive and intelligent far-ranging marine mammals in cramped concrete tanks and force them to perform tricks day in and day out, causing the animals severe psychological and physical anguish.

“The evidence is clear: cetaceans suffer in captivity, where they’re unable to swim vast distances, feel the ocean’s currents, choose their mates, or act on any of their natural instincts,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA is joining lawmakers in calling on ABTA to condemn the operations responsible for their suffering.”

The MPs are John McDonnell, Tonia Antoniazzi, Andrew Gwynne, Roger Gale, Caroline Lucas, Lisa Cameron, Sammy Wilson, Stuart McDonald, Henry Smith, and David Amess.

Major travel companies, including Tripadvisor, Virgin Holidays, British Airways Holidays, and, most recently, Club Med, have all adopted bans on promoting marine parks.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The letter to ABTA is available here. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]