Virgin Holidays has announced today that they will no longer be working with new attractions that offer whale and dolphin shows. The move comes after the 2014 “Pledge on Sea Mammals”, in which the company urged businesses to not take new animals from the wild, and move away from animal entertainment altogether. It also comes after the company stopped allowing customers to use reward points for those businesses.
The new policy states that Virgin Holidays will no longer sell tickets to new places that offer animal shows, such as whales or dolphins. However, while that may sound like a win for animal rights activists, the new ban does not include SeaWorld Orlando or any other current business partners. In short, if the business or (in this case) animal park, already does business with Virgin Holidays, they will continue to do business with Virgin Holidays.
However, this does mean that Virgin Holidays will not offer tickets for the upcoming SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, which is slated to open in 2022. That park has announced that they will not have any Killer Whales in captivity, but they will still offer dolphins and other sea mammals.
The current companies, such as SeaWorld are included because those companies “care deeply about the animals they house, which is evident through the quality of care, the high standard of attractions, and extensive conservation and education programmes.”
“We believe that business should be a force for positive change. Virgin Holidays is committed to a constructive, ongoing relationship with our current suppliers who care for captive cetaceans and will work closely with them to raise standards across the board.” Said David Geer, managing director for Virgin Holidays. “However, we believe the way tourists interact with captive whales and dolphins needs to change and we want to play an active role in supporting this transition.”
SeaWorld is already doing just that, as the company has ended their Killer Whale shows at SeaWorld San Diego, and will open the all new “Orca Encounter”. That new experience will include a VR Orca Experience, which will put you up close and personal with the actual whales of SeaWorld parks. If successful, the VR experience will move to the other two parks in the SeaWorld chain.
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