The lights are on but there is nobody at home

The culmination of many months of campaigning to stop British Airways supporting SeaWorld came down to this – me and my colleague, Julia Thoms, standing at the security gate on the perimeter fence of BA’s UK Headquarters near Heathrow on a dark, wet January afternoon.

We know you feel as strongly as we do that British Airways should stop supporting whale and dolphin cruelty by offering to sell tickets to passengers who book through them. 304,996 of you signed our petition on whales.org and the petition run in partnership with our friend Kathleen Haase and our colleagues at change.org.  That’s a lot of support – the equivalent to the population of a major UK city such as Cardiff or Belfast.  But ‘the nation’s favourite airline’ couldn't care less what you think.

Repeated emails to British Airways’ Environment Department asking for a meeting to hand over your signatures and discuss our concerns were ignored.  Calls to their Press Office only got us a date in the receptionist’s diary. So, yesterday, we took our petition to BA but incredibly couldn’t get beyond the guard at the security gate. “Yes”, he said, “we are expecting you” and “I have been told to take the petition but not to let you any further than this.”

And so it was here that we handed your petition over to the polite security guard in the high-viz jacket. We left feeling angry and frustrated at the contempt BA had shown in treating us, and you, in such an unprofessional and shabby way.

BA petition handover

The world is moving on and public opinion is moving with it. Over a hundred million people have watched the documentary Blackfish. SeaWorld’s abysmal performance continues with plummeting share price, staff layoffs and visitors deserting their parks in droves. This week saw the end of theatrical orca shows at SeaWorld. Whatever SeaWorld would have you believe, it was public opinion and not a proactive corporate decision that forced SeaWorld’s hand and made them end the performances and its orca breeding programme. 

In recent months, as other major UK travel companies such as Trip Advisor, Thomas Cook and Cosmos have made positive steps regarding their policies on animal welfare in tourism, the British Airways monolith remains stubborn and inflexible choosing to believe SeaWorld’s spin over scientific evidence.  When it comes to corporate, ethical responsibility the airline is in danger of becoming a dinosaur.  And when it comes to listening to and valuing its customers it has shown that it just doesn’t care.

Email BA's environment managers, andy.kershaw@ba.com and pam.lovell@ba.com and tell them what you think of them ignoring us (please be polite).

Comments

e-mails sent:-

I understand that your company refused to meet representatives of Whale and Dolphin Conservation when they visited your offices to hand in a petition on 9th January 2017.

It is difficult to understand how a company such a BA can continue to support these cruel practices and then to treat those who seek to express that concern, with disdain.

Until such time as you do cease support for the ill-treatment of whales and dolphins. I will not be flying BA. I will be advertising this fact amongst my network of family, friends and contacts and urging them to do the same. This decision by you was the reason I did not use BA for my business class flight to and from Los Angeles in September.

I urge you to reconsider your policy.

It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful for such a big company whom I have now lost respect for to not even give WDC the chance to discuss the situation. Clearly profit comes before morals and so I will be choosing not to fly with BA anymore

Shameful BA. Cruelty for profit so your execs can live in overpaid luxury disgusting.

It really is time to start thinking ahead. Attitudes are changing and audiences for shows at SeaWorld are dropping as people become educated and realise that this is a marine circus conducted in concrete ponds

British Airways is one of the most disgusting airlines. They have no regard or respect for wildlife or respect for the people who care. It's nothing but greed. They will stop at nothing, totally unconcerned about animal cruelty, in an attempt to increase their profits. I urge everyone to boycott this airline. I have deliberately used other airlines even if it means it is not a direct route and I have to change planes en route. I will go out of my way to avoid BA. They give Britain a bad name. I hope they go bust, they are absolutely disgraceful. The executives are disgusting. If Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic can stop promoting flights to Seaworld (another disgusting Company) then BA can do the same. Power lies with the public, NEVER EVER use British Airways.

It is despicable a company as large and prominent as BA can't spare a bare minimum of half an hour to discuss serious issues that relate to the welfare of whales in captivity.
I don't think a quick meeting on your part is too much to ask of you and it is something that not only concerns all of us who signed that petition but also the whales themselves.
Please have an ounce of feeling and compassion and do the right thing. I know the bottom line is "you're a business" so you look out for those interests, but please don't be known as one of those businesses that doesn't care about an issue as long as it brings in money for you.

I hope you read this far and if so I truly appreciate it.

Yours sincerely,
Katie Inge

An absolute disgrace that you are still supporting Seaworld when other companies have seen the light.
Britain is meant to be a nation of animal lovers, we do not want BA supporting such cruelty.
Whale watching packages are a much better idea.
Come on BA, get with what people want and stop putting profit over animal welfare!

Whales and dolphins in captivity for our entertainment is ABUSE!

Whales and dolphins in captivity for our entertainment is ABUSE!

Dear British Airways "Environmental Managers",

It's difficult to know what to write people who work for such an anti-environment industry, especially as climate change begins to wreck Britain.

How could you not make the tiniest environmental policy shift -- to refuse to transport cetaceans (these are whales, dolphins and porpoises since you appear to lack a foundation in environmentalism)? Does your company reputation not matter?

As I do not have the e-mail address of your own oversight manager, I have to settle with scolding you for doing a hideous job. But if I could explain this situation to someone with ethics, a backbone, and an appreciation for airline reputation, I would and you would likely be out.

Shame for not getting the easy A in environmental policy.

Cheers for a backbone in 2017,

After all the bad publicity surrounding marine parks with captive animals l simply cannot believe you are assisting them in prolonging this outdated, barbaric practice. You should hand your heads in Shame by continuing to support this by assisting with transportation!

Please stop transporting animals for seaworld and all the others.

I am a BA customer and I am disgusted that BA refused to meet representatives from WDC to discuss BA's continuing association with Sea World. I am also extremely disappointed that you are continuing your association with Sea World despite public opinion being against Sea World (shown by the huge drop in their profit).

Please stop transporting animals for seaworld and other parks.

I really don't understand that you support this barbaric cruelty, you are just greedy, it's all about the money to you and not the suffering that these beautiful mammals go through! You really need to hang your heads in shame!

To ignore public opinion on such a topic as the company's support of abuse of animals for entertainment is a mistake and will lose you respect and custom.

I am or should I say 'was' a frequent flier with BA,for pleasure and business,please wake up and see the error in your ways,listen to public opinion regarding sea world,they are going to be a thing of our shameful past some time very soon...the captivity of these wonderful creatures is barbaric ,and needs to stop now! Stand up against things like this and be a leader in the world,do not support them and gain respect and customers worldwide!

Please stop transporting animals for aquariums and parks. That is very sad. Please don't ignore the public opinion.

SeaWorld has been the place of death for two orca trainers. This was due to decades of frustration, confusion and pain caused by being taken from their pods in the wild,kept in a tank not much bigger than a swimming pool and being kept with orcas from different pods. Each pod is like a community and studies have shown each one has slightly different dialects. Orcas at seaworld are from different pods so imagine how confused they are. Frustration at being confined also leads to them chewing the tank walls which leads to inumerable health problems and painful treatments only aggravating them further. For example: Tilikum suffered a lung infection in the year leading to his death. This would not have been helped by wall chewing!
Their wild diet is a mix of fish and seal compared to captivity where they are only fed fish. On on top of all this, the captive orcas are incredibly inbred and in the specific park where Tilikum was kept, his offspring were also his grand-offspring and greatgrand-offspring. This has the potential to lead to genetic defects. All of the aforementioned factors contribute to poor health both physical and mental which ultimately lead to the death of the two SeaWorld orca trainers.So my questions to you are as follows. Why do you associate yourselves with a company who's name and reputation amongst the public is declining rapidly for the fact that they are cruel? Why do you refuse to see what's in front of your very noses? And as one last statement, by associating your company with SeaWorld, you are giving your name a bad reputation by not listening to the will of the public. Consider what this would mean for YOUR future!

As a British Airways customer (eg Toulouse-London-Toulouse), I am really shocked and disappointed not only that BA continues to offer tickets to Seaworld - which is of course totally shameful - but that you refused even to meet with representatives of the highly respected WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) organisation.
The petition they wanted to show you has 304,996 signatures ! That’s the equivalent to the population of a major UK city such as Cardiff or Belfast.
It is extremely arrogant to think you can afford to ignore the views of such a large section of the population. And it is appalling that in this day and age Britain's flag-ship and much loved airline continues to offer tickets to a disgraceful, outdated and totally discredited animal exhibition centre such as Seaworld.
I will henceforth be seeking alternative airlines for my regular visits to the UK.
Yours sincerely...

To whom ever it may concern,

I am writing to you after reading an article online that BA are still supporting SeaWorld. In the article that I read it also says that the WDC visited your offices with a petition signed by over 300.000 people and you refused to see them.

In light of this news I will try in future to choose alternative airlines over BA until BA publicly come out and show they have dropped support for SeaWorld.

Kind regards

Benjamin Jackson

Long letter sent, however it was; "Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted." So cannot post here. Time for "Cessation of all Cetaceans Transportation' alive or as meat by any Airline, Shipping Line... any transport options.

If BA and its gons at Waterside refuse to accept the petition then deliver it to AIG HQ in Madrid, or get it delivered to Willie Walsh's home in Spain.

I meant 'gons' as 'goons' at Waterside. BTW search YouTube for Jeremy Taylor's song 'Jobsworth.' Maybe someone could rewrite the words bringing in Seaworld, BA, whales and dolphins, etc., then upload that to YouTube!!!! Actually I am sure that Jeremy would assist with new words!!!

not surprised in the slightest. BA dont even like their workers never mind some creature in a fishtank!

I feel for these beautiful mammals, the cruilty there put through,a perfect example(Tilicum) he was kept confined for hours on end he died so young,he was driven mad with the confinement and being made to perform ripped from his family and made to suffer, all for money. ....and as for the sick people behind the killings its just so wrong, so cruel untill BA stop supporting this i definitely will be going to another airline in the future and will hope everyone else follows this i am shocked BA are involved in such cruilty and seem to be ignoring the publics opinion and give there support

"Dear Pam and Andy

I would suggest that the recent disdainful treatment of the representatives of Whale and Dolphin Conservation was a major error that is likely to escalate as the 300,000 people like me who signed the petition start thinking about what next steps they can take.

Best, David"

I am disappointed to read the BA have ignored the petition. On this date 14/01/17 BA has to all intensive purposes agreed that Dolphins and Whales are rightfully tortured in the advancement of BA's bottom line. What a shock, I truly thought BA would take notice of the 300,000 people who signed the petition however they could not care less of these people or the torture of animals who dream, have feelings and understand the confines in which they are tortured. Shame on you BA shame on you BA.

What a typical reaction; you obviously think you are too big to make a difference; lets hope not; definitely a better airline I will chose in future.

Dear Andy & Pam

Given that BA appear to be totally disinterested in the WDC petition, signed by over 300 thousand of us, asking that you cease selling tickets to folk to visit Seaworld I am resorting to emailing you directly as one of BA’s two environment managers. Encouraging people to visit Seaworld is totally irresponsible as the keeping of cetaceans (that’s whales and dolphins to you!) in captivity causes them great stress and they frequently become psychotic. Cetaceans are amongst the most intelligent mammals on the planet and need to be free roaming in the sea, not confined to, for them, very small tanks of water! How would you feel if you were confined to a small bare room for the rest of your life? No outside stimuli, no relating to others of your kind, just the four walls and the furniture - I suspect that after a very short time you too would start to show psychotic behaviour! Every conservationist on this planet knows that what Seaworld is doing is wrong and other airline and travel companies are no longer offering tickets for sale - so why is BA persisting, does the balance sheet mean more to you all than being humanitarian?

I live on the Moray Firth and over the past week we’ve been visited by two humpback whales, an unusual sight in the Firth, though bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen. Word was put out and over a thousand folk, from great grandparents to young toddlers, came along to see the whales in their natural environment all went away totally thrilled. Please, please stop selling tickets to something so destructive.

Regards

Carol Shaw

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