Thomas Cook To Stop Selling Tickets To SeaWorld Over Animal Welfare Concerns

The holiday and travel company Thomas Cook has announced that it is to stop selling tickets for 29 attractions because of issues regarding animal welfare.

Among those attractions are Florida's SeaWorld and Tenerife's Loro Parque - both featured in the film Blackfish, which was critical of their keeping of dolphins and orcas in captivity.

The new ban will start from next summer and sees the travel giant wash their hands of the two controversial animal amusement parks. Because the parks are so popular, it could see Thomas Cook left significantly out of pocket.

Despite the financial loss, they say that they have considered feedback from customers who overwhelmingly said that they thought animal welfare was important.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Thomas Cook representative Peter Fankhauser said: "This was not a decision we took lightly. We always said that we would continue to review our policy, conscious that the more we got into this area, the more we would learn, and conscious also of changing customer sentiment.

"We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months and taken account of the scientific evidence they have provided. We have also taken feedback from our customers, more than 90 percent of whom told us that it was important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously.

"That has led us to the decision we have taken today."

Despite passing the firm's audit and Thomas Cook citing improvements in their treatment of animals, the ban could prompt other firms to end their relationship to the parks.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

In the aftermath of Gabriela Cowperthwaite's documentary film, Blackfish, SeaWorld and Loro Parque came under increased scrutiny for their treatment of animals, particularly captive killer whales.

The documentary told the story of Tilikum, a captive orca that was involved in the death of three people. Tilikum died in January 2017 after more than 30 years in captivity.

After the film was released, the number of visitors to SeaWorld decreased dramatically. In 2017 it has been reported that around half a million fewer people visited the park.

SeaWorld also announced that it was to end its orca breeding programme in 2016, as well as vowing not to capture any more killer whales and reducing the number of orca theatrical performances.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Despite taking these measures, SeaWorld has previously described the film as 'manipulative'.

It added: "The opportunity to see orcas up-close has inspired millions of people, especially children, to care more about marine animals, the oceans and the environment."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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