Thomas Cook has announced it will stop selling tickets to SeaWorld
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Thomas Cook, one of the UK’s leading tour operators, is
cancelling all tickets to SeaWorld following months of campaigns by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Tickets to SeaWorld, dubbed by protesters as a marine “abusement” park, will no longer be sold by the travel giant following campaigning, including over 100 protests outside Thomas Cook shops and over 50,000 letters from the public.
High-profile celebrities including Sharon Osbourne and respected explorer and environmentalist Paul O’Grady have joined forces with the public to oppose the sale of tickets to the SeaWorld parks.
The tour operator previously sold more than 10,000 day trips to SeaWorld Florida every year. The new policy means that SeaWorld Florida and Loro Parque in Tenerife will be removed from Thomas Cook’s website and holiday brochures.
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook Chief Executive, writes in a blog post: "I am clear about the kind of business we want to be. And when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them."
Based on their research, more than 90% of customers reported that they desired their holiday company to take animal welfare seriously.
According to the SeaWorld website, 21 orcas are currently housed across their parks. As an intelligent species which can swim up to 100 miles per day in the wild, orcas in SeaWorld’s tanks are restricted to concrete chlorinated cells and endlessly drugged to reduce stress-induced aggressive behaviour.
Under the park’s care, 41 orcas and other marine animals have died years before their natural life expectancies, drawing criticism over the parks' inhumane treatment of marine animals.
PETA Director of Corporate Projects, Yvonne Taylor, says: “This momentous victory means that Thomas Cook has now become the world-leading travel provider for animal welfare that it had claimed to be. If other travel providers hope to maintain a shred of credibility with animal-loving British holidaymakers, they must follow Thomas Cook’s lead and immediately announce that they, too, will end the financial lifeline they are giving these cruel marine parks."
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