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Vaquita. Photo Thomas Jefferson

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Huge success for WDC campaign as Virgin Holidays ends SeaWorld trips

Branson orca

Virgin Holidays has announced that it is to stop selling tickets to SeaWorld as part of a move to cut links with facilities that hold whales and dolphins in captivity for entertainment. 

The announcement represents a huge success for WDC’s ongoing campaign to stop tour operators promoting and supporting the captivity industry, a campaign that specifically targeted Sir Richard Branson calling on him to drop SeaWorld.

WDC’s campaign film, A letter to Richard Branson, made media headlines and has been watched by over 100,000 people on YouTube, and was immediately followed by an instruction to Virgin Holidays by Sir Richard to stop working with any aquarium or theme park that continued to capture whales and dolphins from the wild or import whales and dolphins taken from the wild.

The holiday company later committed not to sell tickets to any new facilities that it didn’t already, and to supporting alternatives to captivity such as whale watching and sanctuaries.

‘Virgin Holidays finally cutting ties with facilities holding whales and dolphins in captivity is a great campaign victory for us but also a massive statement to the holiday industry,’ says WDC end-captivity campaigner, Cathy Williamson. ‘WDC is delighted Virgin Holidays will no longer support the captivity industry and we continue to call on all tour operators including Carnival, TUI, British Airways and others to stop selling tickets to facilities that hold whales and dolphins in tanks for human amusement.’

WDC has partnered with the SEA LIFE Trust to create the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary in Iceland. It is hoped these initiatives will help to encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales and dolphins into natural environments around the world, and one day help to bring an end to whale and dolphin entertainment shows.

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