WDC notes with some anticipation a prompt statement of response by Sir Richard Branson to our campaign calling on him to stop Virgin’s promotion of facilities holding captive whales and dolphins. We have been asking Virgin about this issue for some time with no reply. Public pressure resulting from our campaign launch has now brought about a response.
As we noted yesterday, one of the facilities promoted by Virgin Holidays, SeaWorld, holds orcas and other whales and dolphins captured in the wild and has recently been part of the permit application by the Georgia Aquarium to import wild-caught belugas from Russia (a permit denied by the US government, but now being appealed). It would therefore be a very positive step in the right direction for SeaWorld and others to pledge not to take in wild-captured whales and dolphins.
We interpret Sir Richard Branson’s statement as opposition to SeaWorld’s support for the proposed beluga import by Georgia Aquarium, and we would welcome confirmation from him that he agrees.
However, whale and dolphin captivity presents significant health and welfare problems for both wild-caught and captive born individuals and we would like to see these issues addressed more comprehensively by Virgin Holidays.
Captive born whales and dolphins also suffer greatly in captivity and any ABTA affiliated tour operator, including Virgin Holidays, who adheres to ABTA guidance on captive dolphin facilities should no longer be promoting them.