ResponsibleTravel.com has launched a petition against keeping dolphins and whales in marine parks, saying it is “ethically wrong”. It is the latest in a series of protests against keeping wild animals in captivity.
The petition has called on responsible travellers and travel companies to speak out against captivity for cetaceans, while promoting whale and dolphin watching in the wild.
Justin Francis, co-founder and managing director of ResponsibleTravel.com, said, “I believe it’s time the entire travel and tourism industry took a long, hard look at what is going on with the captive cetacean industry.
“In our opinion it is morally wrong to keep these super intelligent animals in small, purpose built tanks and train them to perform tricks and stunts to loud music and a cheering crowd. Just as nothing can justify the use of tamed wild animals in circuses, I believe the time has come to end orca and dolphin circuses too.”
He added, “I hope the travel and tourism industry can translate the current tide of public sentiment into real action on this issue.”
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, Fleur Dawes, spokesperson for Animal Defenders International (ADI), commented, “Deprived of the environment they would enjoy in the wild, and their natural social and family groups, performing animals suffer psychologically and physically from their confinement and training regime. If you are an animal lover, please see animals as nature intended – don’t let our wildlife be demeaned and used for cheap tricks.”
The launch of the petition follows another that aims to stop SeaWorld in California using orca whales for its shows, which has collected over 1m signatures. It was later revealed that the marine park had drugged the animals to contain their aggressiveness.
According to ResponsibleTravel.com, the use of cetaceans in entertainment parks should be as morally unacceptable as the use of wild animals in circuses, another issue on which campaigners and politicians have recently demanded action.
Speaking to those backing the campaign – which includes Caroline Lucas, Stanley Johnson and Ben Goldsmith – David Cameron promised on Wednesday to speed up on the ban on using wild animals for entertainment.
Photo: Spencer Wright via flickr