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No self-isolation for Norwegian whalers

No self-isolation for Norwegian whalers

While the world deals with the global issues around a pandemic, it seems that whalers...
Russia to give orcas greater protection

Russia to give orcas greater protection

According to reports, Viktoria Abramchenko, the Deputy Prime Minister in Russia responsible for environmental affairs,...
Good news from Greece on Captivity!

Good news from Greece on Captivity!

The authorities in Attica, the Greek region that encompasses the city of Athens, have taken...
COVID 19- Canceling WDC Travel, Not Momentum

COVID 19- Canceling WDC Travel, Not Momentum

I am writing this on the evening of Tuesday March 10th, just hours after the...
Numbers emerge from latest dolphin hunt season in Taiji

Numbers emerge from latest dolphin hunt season in Taiji

Figures from the latest Taiji dolphin hunt season, which began last September, suggest that around...
Record breaker Riptide the orca swims from Iceland to Lebanon

Record breaker Riptide the orca swims from Iceland to Lebanon

A male orca, commonly known as Riptide, has been spotted in waters around Beirut, Lebanon,...
Earthquake disrupts sperm whales’ feeding behavior

Earthquake disrupts sperm whales’ feeding behavior

A new study has revealed how an earthquake affected the ability of a group of...
Minke whale calls drowned out by ocean noise

Minke whale calls drowned out by ocean noise

New research in Australia suggests noise pollution is affecting how minke whales communicate. We have...

The lights are on but there is nobody at home

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.

We know you feel as strongly as we do that British Airways should stop supporting whale and dolphin cruelty by offering to sell tickets to passengers who book through them. 304,996 of you signed our petition on whales.org and the petition run in partnership with our friend Kathleen Haase and our colleagues at change.org.  That’s a lot of support – the equivalent to the population of a major UK city such as Cardiff or Belfast.  But ‘the nation’s favourite airline’ couldn’t care less what you think.

Repeated emails to British Airways’ Environment Department asking for a meeting to hand over your signatures and discuss our concerns were ignored.  Calls to their Press Office only got us a date in the receptionist’s diary. So, yesterday, we took our petition to BA but incredibly couldn’t get beyond the guard at the security gate. “Yes”, he said, “we are expecting you” and “I have been told to take the petition but not to let you any further than this.”

And so it was here that we handed your petition over to the polite security guard in the high-viz jacket. We left feeling angry and frustrated at the contempt BA had shown in treating us, and you, in such an unprofessional and shabby way.

The world is moving on and public opinion is moving with it. Over a hundred million people have watched the documentary Blackfish. SeaWorld’s abysmal performance continues with plummeting share price, staff layoffs and visitors deserting their parks in droves. This week saw the end of theatrical orca shows at SeaWorld. Whatever SeaWorld would have you believe, it was public opinion and not a proactive corporate decision that forced SeaWorld’s hand and made them end the performances and its orca breeding programme. 

In recent months, as other major UK travel companies such as Trip Advisor, Thomas Cook and Cosmos have made positive steps regarding their policies on animal welfare in tourism, the British Airways monolith remains stubborn and inflexible choosing to believe SeaWorld’s spin over scientific evidence.  When it comes to corporate, ethical responsibility the airline is in danger of becoming a dinosaur.  And when it comes to listening to and valuing its customers it has shown that it just doesn’t care.

Email BA’s environment managers, andy.kershaw@ba.com and pam.lovell@ba.com and tell them what you think of them ignoring us (please be polite).