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Over the years, travel companies around the world have made great strides for animals abused in the tourism industry. Dozens have pulled elephant rides from their offerings, and TripAdvisor—the world's largest travel site—stopped selling tickets for elephant rides, tiger encounters, and "swim with dolphins" excursions, among other harmful activities. Travel giant Thomas Cook committed to stop selling tickets to SeaWorld and all other parks that keep orcas captive. Then, Virgin Holidays announced that it would no longer sell tickets to any facility that keeps whales or dolphins in captivity and British Airways stopped offering bookings to any facility with captive wild animals. Expedia has also taken some steps to help animals—yet the company is still selling tickets to SeaWorld and "swim with dolphins" activities!
While tourists may unwittingly contribute to a cruel industry by taking part in a "swim with dolphins" excursion, Expedia has been informed that dolphins used for such purposes are typically confined to concrete tanks, small pools, or makeshift lagoons in which they have no choice but to swim in endless circles. Some suffer from ulcers and other health ailments, and many die prematurely because of the stressful conditions of captivity. These interactions also help fuel the annual Taiji dolphin hunt in Japan, during which hundreds of dolphins are violently captured and slaughtered every year.
And then there's SeaWorld, which has a well-known history of abducting orcas and other marine mammals from the ocean, breeding them, imprisoning them, and subjecting them to a lifetime of deprivation. More than 40 orcas have died at SeaWorld, and not one has come close to the maximum life expectancy of the species in nature. Other dolphins are still being forcibly bred, sometimes after being drugged, and forced to perform in sea circus shows in which trainers stand on their faces and backs, treating them like surfboards.
Just like elephants and big cats, orcas and dolphins deserve a life free from abuse for tourism and entertainment. Please take action below to ask Expedia to end sales of tickets to SeaWorld and "swim with dolphins" encounters.