Mixed messages from Virgin on whale and dolphin captivity
US airline Virgin America, which was founded by Richard Branson, has announced that it is to drop a scheme that allows its customers to earn points toward travel when they spend money at SeaWorld parks. Virgin America, still part owned by Branson, is the latest in a line of big company names to cut certain ties with SeaWorld following global public backlash against keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. Recently, both Southwest Airlines and student travel firm, STA both announced changes in the their relationship with SeaWorld.
Interestingly, the move by Virgin America comes after WDC’s recent campaign asking Virgin Holidays to stop selling trips to parks like SeaWorld was followed by a consultation period by Virgin of several months during which the holiday company reflected on its involvement with captivity theme parks that confine whales and dolphins in small tanks for so-called ‘entertainment’. Sadly, the statement from Richard Branson issued after that consultation was disappointing. In it Virgin Holidays said that it was to continue to work with aquariums, such as SeaWorld. Oddly, it seems Virgin America doesn’t want to!