For Expedia, captive dolphins are now a no-go

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Travel firm will no longer sell trips that contain captive dolphins

The hugely successful travel company Expedia has turned its back on holidays that include performances by captive dolphins and whales.  The move follows campaigning by various animal welfare groups and celebrities such as the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson. The people calling for the banning of shows that involve captive sea creatures hope to be one step closer to their goal now that one of travel’s largest companies has disowned the attractions. 

The company announced the move on Twitter, stating: “We recently adjusted our animal welfare policy. As a result, attractions and activities that involve performances by or interactions with dolphins and other cetaceans will no longer be available on our sites.”

More detail has been added to the Expedia captive dolphins page on the website. It says: “seaside sanctuaries that provide captive animals with a permanent seaside living environment are allowed if they are accredited and do not feature interactions or performances.”

Virgin Holidays stopped selling tickets to these attractions in 2019, and now campaigners are looking for other companies to follow suit. Katheryn Wise, from wildlife charity World Animal Protection, said: “This is amazing news and something we have been campaigning for since 2019. We’re so pleased that they have listened. Travel companies play a huge role in driving captive dolphin entertainment and as one of the largest travel companies in the world, we are delighted that the Expedia Group are making a stand. It’s time for other travel giants… to do the right thing and follow suit.”

According to the PA news agency, the company intend to implement the policy by early 2022.  Expedia said, “We give our providers 30 days to comply with the updated policy or face removal from the site.” 

The company has also stated that it does not “allow intentional physical contact with wild and exotic animals, which include but are not limited to dolphins, whales, cetaceans, elephants, big cats, bears, reptiles, and primates”, and also does not sell activities involving exotic pet cafes, restaurants and travelling zoos.

There have been no captive dolphin shows in the UK since 2003 but there are more than 3,000 captive dolphins held in confined conditions at tourist entertainment venues around the world. 

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Written by

Claire Gordon