British Airways Refuse To Drop SeaWorld
British Airways say there is no reason for them to end their partnership with Sea World
In response to a 257,914 signature strong petition calling on the airline to stop promoting SeaWorld, British Airways' head of environment, Jonathon Counsell, has released a statement, saying there was currently 'no reason to end our relationship with the organisation [Sea World]'.
Counsell argues that British Airways (BA) 'have actively sought the views of and evidence from a range of people and organisations including the leading NGOs in this field on the issue of cetaceans in captivity'.
BA further defended their position by arguing that SeaWorld's animal care standards would exceed the ABTA guidelines for the welfare of animals in tourism and that the entertainment park group had not taken any cetaceans from the wild in the last 30 years.
In an open letter, petition initiator Kathleen Haase stresses that BA has so far ignored a document summarising at least 13 violations to the ABTA guidelines and draws attention to two recent incidents in which SeaWorld has been involved in the capture of wild cetaceans. An orphaned orca called Morgan was, after its rehabilitation, sent to Loro Parque an entertainment park in Tenerife which is affiliated with SeaWorld, instead of being released back into the wild. Sea World has also appeared on a list of potential recipients of 12 wild-caught orcas from Russia.
Cathy Williamson, an anti captivity campaigner of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), told DIVE that BA's response to the petition was 'hugely disappointing'.
'In spite of the volumes of evidence about the suffering inflicted on orcas and other whales and dolphins in captivity and increasing concerns raised by all stakeholder groups about the welfare of orcas at SeaWorld parks, BA has ignored public opinion, including that of its customers, in favour of a failing business that probably wouldn’t get off the ground if it was starting today,' Williamson added.
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