TripAdvisor is making good on its commitment to improve animal welfare in tourism by announcing it will no longer sell tickets to attractions that breed, import or capture whales, dolphins and porpoises.
TripAdvisor is extending its reach to now “no longer sell bookable experiences to attractions that continue to contribute to the captivity of future generations of cetaceans,” according to a press release.
In addition to banning the sale, TripAdvisor, and its subsidiary Viator, announced it will also end all commercial relationships with any facility that offers these experiences – including SeaWorld, which has multiple locations in the U.S.
“We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last, and we look forward to seeing this position adopted more widely throughout the travel industry,” Dermot Halpin, TripAdvisor’s president for experiences and rentals, said to the New York Times.
The company claims the decision came from looking at changing consumer demands.
According to the site, a survey of over 5,000 TripAdvisor users revealed that 42 percent did not think whales and dolphins should be kept in captivity at all, while 80 percent agreed whales and dolphins should not be kept in captivity specifically for entertainment purposes.
The travel website launched its Animal Welfare Policy in 2016, when it first stopped selling tickets for specific experiences where tourists came into contact with captive wild animals. In 2018, TripAdvisor stopped selling tickets to shows and performances that forced captive wild animals to perform tricks for tourists.
In a statement to Fox News, chief zoological officer, Chris Dold said he was “disappointed” with TripAdvisor’s decision.
“We are disappointed by TripAdvisor’s new position that ignores the educational value and conservation mission of professionally accredited zoos and aquariums. SeaWorld believes deeply in the mission of these organizations. As a member of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), certified by American Humane, and accredited by Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), as well as numerous other certifications and accreditations from leading accrediting bodies, SeaWorld maintains the highest standards of care for all animals, including cetaceans," he said.