Responsible Travel and the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) today welcome the move by SeaWorld to end its orca breeding program and circus-style orca performances.
After a global campaign by animal rights activists and the public at large, including a petition by the WCA and Responsible Travel, the move is a landmark change.
Dylan Walker, World Cetacean Alliance said:
“This is a momentous day and a critical turning point.
“We applaud SeaWorld for doing the right thing here. Finally SeaWorld has listened to the experts and its customers and acted accordingly.
“In just one day it has gone from public enemy number one to a potential leader for change. That’s a game changer not just for SeaWorld but for the industry worldwide. We hope to see the dolphinarium industry around the world follow suit.”
Justin Francis, CEO, Responsible Travel said:
“This is people power at its very best – customers standing up and talking out on animal welfare issues in tourism. All of us as travellers can make a huge difference, as this landmark change has shown. Tourism companies around the world have a responsibility to animals, local people and the planet to protect and respect.”
Speaking about the wider implications of SeaWorld’s announcement, Francis also comments “It is apparent that any form of abuse of marine mammals is the subject of intense scrutiny from the general public, NGOs and the media.
“This didn’t start with SeaWorld, and it won’t end with SeaWorld either. It is a warning call to dolphinarium, tourism businesses offering captive ‘swim with dolphin’ experiences, and irresponsible wild whale watching tour operators that they will now be under the same spotlight.
“We won’t turn the clock back now, the public and animal welfare NGOs won’t stop”.
Walker adds “There is a long-term trend in the way the public view animals – as intelligent, sociable and deserving of the same respect with which we treat each other.
“This is the requirement for the tourism industry going forwards.”