British Airways has joined a slew of other airlines and holiday companies to sever all ties with the controversial marine attraction SeaWorld. The airline and more specifically it’s British Airways Holidays subsidiary, has published a new animal welfare policy that essentially stops it from promoting the captivity of wild animals.
The airline announced all visitor attractions where captive wild animals are central to the attraction were removed for sale from the British Airways website on Thursday.
At the end of July, United Airlines also announced it had brought its relationship with the SeaWorld chain to an end. Other companues to have severed ties with the troubled animals attraction include Virgin Holidays, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, and Canada’s WestJet.
Southwest Airlines, which had a 25-year relationship with SeaWorld – including a special liveried aircraft – abandoned its relationship with the Orlando-based attraction back in 2014.
“Our customers tell us they have concerns about wild animals being kept in captivity, and increasingly see animal performances in particular as outdated,” said Claire Bentley, managing director of British Airways Holidays, of the new animal welfare policy.
Developed in partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free, the policy doesn’t go as far as stopping customers from booking hotels that keep wild animals onsite but these hotels will be clearly labelled and tickets for any shows featuring these animals won’t be available to purchase through the British Airways website.
In addition, British Airways will help fund a new sanctuary for rescued big cats in South Africa.
PETA recently claimed victory in its four-year campaign to stop Virgin Holidays selling tickets to SeaWorld. The animal rights group said it had collected 310,000 signatures urging the holiday company to drop its relationship with the park. Activists have now turned their attention to one of Europe’s largest holiday companies – the TUI Group – who continue to sell tickets for SeaWorld.