VR Therapies ‘Swim With Dolphins’ Experience Nabs PETA Award

For Immediate Release:

16 June 2020


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]

VR Therapies ‘Swim With Dolphins’ Experience Nabs PETA Award

Northampton Company’s Immersive Technology Upends Cruel and Exploitative Wild-Animal Tourism

Northampton – For designing a new interactive experience that helps those with special needs and encourages people never to swim with captive dolphins or visit aquariums and marine parks, VR Therapies has won a PETA Proggy Award. With the awards (“Proggy” is for “progress”), the group recognises animal-friendly achievements in commerce and culture.

The photo of VR Therapies founder Rebecca Gill with the award is also available here.

The award-winning “Swimming With Dolphins” experience uses 360-degree virtual reality to put users – who are immersed in a hydrotherapy pool – in the majestic presence of a . Through the advanced technology, users can entice the computer-generated ‘animals’ to play with them – without harming any real animals.

“VR Therapies knows that dolphins are sensitive, highly intelligent animals who belong in the open ocean, not imprisoned in a tank or forced to interact with humans in contained waters,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “PETA is recognising this visionary company for offering an exciting and educational virtual reality experience that doesn’t exploit animals.”

“As a learning disability nurse, my passion is bringing innovative therapeutic experiences to those who need them the most,” says Gill. “By using virtual reality instead of imprisoned animals, we can help prevent dolphins from being kept in captivity, conserve their natural habitats, and raise awareness of the plight of captive marine mammals.”

In the open ocean, dolphins swim up to 50 miles a day alongside their families and communicate over vast distances by sonar. In marine parks, they’re forced to perform in pools filled with chemically treated water. Their sonar bounces off the walls, causing depression, ulcers, and early death.

The public is against imprisoning cetaceans for entertainment. A customer survey by Virgin Holidays found that 92% of respondents “prefer to see animals in their natural habitat” rather than in captivity.

Nevertheless, SeaWorld continues to imprison dolphins, orcas, and other far-ranging marine mammals in tiny tanks and force them to perform sea-circus tricks for visitors – which is why PETA is pushing TUI to join British Airways Holidays, Virgin Holidays, Booking.com, and scores of other companies in refusing to promote SeaWorld or other marine parks.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – previously gave a Proggy Award to virtual reality education start-up Curiscope for its “Great White Shark” experience.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.