British tour operator Thomas Cook announced this week that from next summer it will stop selling tickets for tourist attractions that have captive killer whales or orcas, such as in Loro Parque in Tenerife and SeaWorld in Florida in the USA.
On the Thomas Cook website, the CEO, Peter Fankhauser, said that these two animal park zoos that keep orcas captive for the entertainment of tourists will no longer be promoted by the company.
Thomas Cook will stop recommending its clients visit these zoo centres based on new internal regulations that have been adapted after many Thomas Cook customers complained about the conditions of the orcas in these centres, and that many display signs of trauma. It is reported that 90% of its customers were concerned about animal welfare.
Peter Fankhauser said “We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months, and taken account of the scientific evidence they have provided, and listened to our customers who want their holiday company to take animal welfare seriously.”
Last year, Thomas Cook began an audit of 49 animal parks to see if they met its policy on animal welfare, based on standards set by ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents). Some 29 failed, and the holiday company stopped selling tickets.
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