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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

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Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

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.

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, [email protected] and [email protected] and tell them what you think of them ignoring us (please be polite).