We have relaunched our campaign asking Expedia Group to stop selling and promoting captive dolphin entertainment venues after pausing it for almost a year. So where did we get to before COVID-19 hit and what has changed for dolphins since then?
"Change has been happening for dolphins behind the scenes creating a ripple effect across the industry, making this the perfect time for us to continue asking Expedia Group to stop profiting from dolphin cruelty."
A brief history of our campaign so far
In October 2019 we launched a global campaign asking Expedia Group, one of the world’s largest travel companies, to stop promoting and selling captive dolphin entertainment. Across the world, 300,000 people signed our petition.
We had two meetings with Expedia Group at their London office but we were disappointed when they said that they would only stop selling and promoting venues that are not accredited by WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) or AMMPA (Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums). To find out more about this, take a look back at our blog ‘Why an accredited tank is not enough’.
We took to the streets on behalf of our 300,000 supporters and collected hundreds of signatures of support outside Expedia Group’s London office.
And then, early in 2020, everything changed and the world was brought to a halt by COVID-19 and for over a year most of us have been in and out of lockdown.
A year on and we are beginning to see the gradual easing of restrictions which has seen bookings for future travel surge as people plan their long-awaited holidays.
And still, Expedia Group continue to sell and promote dolphin venues.
Sadly, that hasn’t changed.
And yet, change has been happening for dolphins behind the scenes creating a ripple effect across the industry, making this the perfect time for us to continue asking Expedia Group to stop profiting from dolphin cruelty.
Reasons to be hopeful
Here’s a summary of some of the highlights of the last two years and reasons to be hopeful that we can, and we are, making this change happen.
June 2019 – Canada passed Bill S-203 (nicknamed the Free Willy Bill) which banned the capture and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises for entertainment
November 2019 - Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) published guidelines around captive wildlife attractions which advised that performing wild animals and direct interactions with cetaceans are unacceptable (as well as riding wild animals and direct interaction with baby wild animals)
September 2020 - France (with three dolphinariums) announced that they will gradually phase out orca and dolphin shows
December 2020 - Dutch travel trade association ANVR updated its animal welfare guidelines with new guidance for members that is is ‘unacceptable’ for travel companies to offer or promote attractions where there are shows or direct interactions with dolphins and other cetaceans. For more on this, read our blog Good News for Dolphins.
February 2021 - World Animal Protection launched two new Whale Heritage Sites in Tenerife and California with World Cetacean Alliance who developed the global accreditation scheme which recognises outstanding destinations that offer and celebrate responsible and sustainable wild whale and dolphin watching. For more on this, read our blog here.
March 2021 - New South Wales in Australia introduced a regulation that bans dolphin breeding and the importation of dolphins to the state
April 2021 – Brussels have now banned the captivity of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals
This is on top of all the countries where laws have been passed or strict restrictions are in place that make keeping captive dolphins for entertainment impossible, which include Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.
As well as a number of well-known travel companies that have already said that they will not sell or promote dolphin venues, such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Air BnB, Virgin Holidays and British Airways.
As we go from day to day it can be hard to see that change is happening but when you look back, even over the last few years, you can see a groundswell of support from people who, like us, believe that dolphins are wild animals and not entertainers.
This year, Join the Pod and let’s finally make this the last generation of dolphins in captivity.
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