In a resounding victory for marine mammals and an unequivocal statement to companies that profit from their abuse, the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor, has announced that it will no longer sell tickets to captive dolphin displays.
In TripAdvisor’s announcement, just posted on its website, the company said:
Ultimately, we concluded that whales and dolphins do not thrive in captivity. The evidence is both plentiful and compelling. These are highly intelligent animals with complex needs, and their natural environment and wide-ranging roaming habits in the wild cannot be mimicked in inland facilities and small sea pens. … We hope that this generation of whales and dolphins in captivity will be the last.
TripAdvisor confirmed to The Guardian that those it views to be in breach of its new policy will no longer be promoted over the next few months, with the policy in full effect by the end of 2019.
In 2016, TripAdvisor announced sweeping changes to protect animals from abuse, including the end of ticket sales for elephant rides, tiger photo ops, and “swim with dolphins” encounters. It has long prohibited cruel and deadly “sports” such as bullfighting and canned hunting, and it published comprehensive animal welfare guidelines for travellers on its website with PETA US’ input.
TripAdvisor has once again established itself as an industry leader, updating its policy to give the best possible advice: never buy a ticket to any place where dolphins, whales, or other marine mammals are kept captive for public display.
For dolphins suffering at Sea World and other abusement parks around the world, the end of captivity can’t come soon enough. Robbed of the opportunity to swim free with their family pods in their ocean homes, these animals can do nothing but swim in endless circles.
But TripAdvisor and many other ethical companies – including Virgin Holidays– are making it clear that they won’t be complicit.
Let’s keep adding to the list and chipping away at the only thing marine parks care about: the bottom line. When people stop paying to see depressed captive animals crammed into tanks, dolphins and other cetaceans will finally get to retire to seaside sanctuaries.