The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Travel Giant Cuts Ties With SeaWorld Over Killer Whale Captivity
British travel giant Thomas Cook announced over the weekend it will stop offering tickets to animal attractions that keep killer whales in captivity.
"This was not a decision we took lightly," CEO Peter Fankhauser wrote in a blog post posted Sunday. He did not specifically name SeaWorld and Loro Parque in the post.
Fankhauser acknowledged that both parks passed the firm's audit process and made improvements to the way they treat animals.
However, "from next summer, we will no longer sell any animal attractions that keep orcas in captivity," he said.
Fankhauser said that more than 90 percent of the firm's customers believe it is important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously.
"We recognized that customer expectations were changing when it comes to animal attractions," he said. "And when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them."
After implementing an animal welfare policy 18 months ago, the travel firm has removed 29 animal attractions from its catalogue because they did not meet the minimum ABTA standards, which sets guidelines for animals in tourism.
Thomas Cook sells more than 10,000 day trips a year to SeaWorld Florida, according to the Telegraph.
Animal rights group PETA UK celebrated the news, calling it a victory that culminated after more than 150 protests around the country and multiple meetings with Thomas Cook management over the past year.
"This momentous victory means that Thomas Cook has now become the world-leading travel provider for animal welfare that it had claimed to be, and if other travel providers hope to maintain a shred of credibility with animal-loving British holidaymakers, they must follow its lead and immediately announce that they, too, will end the financial lifeline they are giving these cruel marine parks," PETA said in a press release.
The marine mammals currently in their care "will be with us and our visitors for many years to come," SeaWorld said in a statement to BBC News.
"Millions of UK guests" visited its parks and it would continue to "welcome the public" to them," the company said.
"They have seen first-hand the incredible care we provide all of our animals and learned about how we are protecting and saving species in the wild," the statement continued.
In their own statement, Loro Parque said more than a million visitors have come to the park with Thomas Cook's booking services in the last 45 years.
"In all these years we have not received a single complaint from any of them regarding the welfare of our animals," the statement read.
The statement continued:
The decision of Thomas Cook is clearly influenced by anti-zoo organizations leaded by a minority of activists not really concerned about the animals, but just aimed in destroying the zoos and their conservation, research and educational activities. But this will not change our determination to continue working for the welfare of every single animal in this world, and for the conservation of the biodiversity in a planet threatened by the sixth extinction as has been scientifically proven.
- Pro Race Car Driver Banned From SeaWorld for 'Mourning Loss' of ... ›
- Baby Orca Born in Captivity Dies at SeaWorld ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."