Virgin Holidays stop selling packages to attractions with captive whales and dolphins

Virgin Holidays has announced it will no longer sell packages to attractions with captive whales and dolphins.

An image from SeaWorld. Picture: AP
An image from SeaWorld. Picture: AP

The travel firm's ban will include controversial holiday favourite SeaWorld.

Speaking to national newspaper The Mirror, the firm said the brand was looking to offer holidaymakers "more natural, at-distance encounters with these animals".

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The move comes after research by Virgin Holidays showed that 92 per cent of UK holidaymakers said they would prefer to see animals in their natural habitat.

However it's not the first time that Virgin Holidays has looked to finding alternatives to attractions which feature animals in captivity.

A spokesperson for SeaWorld said: "It is disappointing to see Virgin Holidays succumb to pressure from animal activists who mislead and manipulate marine mammal science to advance their agendas.

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"Virgin’s own corporate mission is having a measurable purpose that positively impacts communities and the environment. SeaWorld is the epitome of that mission.

"With more than 35,000 animal rescues and decades of meaningful scientific contributions, we are proud to be a recognized global leader in marine mammal science, education and, in particular, providing preeminent care to all of our marine mammals.

"With rising threats to our oceans and their inhabitants, supporting independently accredited zoological facilities is more important than ever. No company does more to protect marine mammals and advance cetacean research, rescue and conservation than SeaWorld."

Last year Thomas Cook announced it would be axing all trips to theme parks where killer whales are kept captive – including top attractions SeaWorld and Loro Parque.