Our advice has always been simple and has always been the same: PLEASE, DON’T BUY A TICKET to any marine park that holds whales and dolphins in captivity.
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.
This Sunday (8th Jan) will see the end of SeaWorld San Diego’s controversial theatrical orca shows, a move that was announced by the captivity giant (along with an end to orca breeding programmes) last year
The news, when it finally came, was not a surprise but it still stung. On January 6th, 2017, Sea World announced that Tilikum, the dark star of the 2013 ground-breaking documentary Blackfish, had died.
Barely two months after announcing it was suspending its dividend payout, SeaWorld has revealed a huge drop in profits in its third quarter results with income falling to 66m dollars. Chief executive, Joe Manby, also announced a further $65m cost cutting excercise as the company attempts to turn around its financial fortunes.
Last month, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill to ban captive orca performances and breeding programs and Tuesday California Govenor, Jerry Brown, signed the bill into law. This historic legislation is in stark contrast to the situation in Arizona where dolphins from California were recently shipped to become the main attraction at Dolphinaris, a dolphin swim-with program set to open next month in Scottsdale.
Lawmakers in California have passed a bill that would ban the breeding and export of orcas held in California. The bill was introduced by Democratic Assemblymember Richard Bloom in March 2014 and resubmitted earlier this year. It has now been passed to the state Governor for approval.
Even though SeaWorld announced earlier this year that it would be ending its breeding programme, the law will prevent the company from being able to change its mind in future.
Since we first launched our campaign almost 300,000 people have signed the petition, both on our website and on change.org, asking BA to stop supporting cruel captive whale and dolphin shows by selling tickets to SeaWorld.
BA’s initial refusal to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with selling these tickets was then exposed even further by SeaWorld itself backing away from keeping orcas in small tanks in the future, to stop breeding orcas, and eventually ending all orcas shows.
For this instalment in the Forgotten Dolphins series, WDC residential volunteer, Naomi Bentley, shines a light on the plight of captive beluga whales.