World Animal Protection has slammed Qantas after the airline clarified that it is continuing to sell tickets to Sea World.
Speaking at Travel DAZE on Wednesday on Sydney, Ben Pearson, head of campaigns at World Animal Protection Australia and New Zealand, congratulated Qantas for “generally” making a statement to not promote dolphin parks like Sea World.
But after receiving word from Travel Weekly on Thursday that Qantas is, in fact, continuing to make tickets to Sea World available to its customers who allegedly want to go there while holidaying on the Gold Coast, Pearson had the following to say:
“Kangaroos don’t walk backwards, but Qantas just did. If you sell tickets to captive dolphin parks, you sell tickets to animal cruelty.
“Qantas’ original commitment would have moved us closer to a future where the only place that people could see dolphins is in the wild, where they belong.
“Given the significant role they play, we need the airlines, travel companies and tour operators to show leadership on this issue.”
Qantas was recently reported as saying it does not partner with venues that house captive cetaceans (dolphins, whales and orcas).
“As Australia’s largest airline, we know we have a responsibility to ensure organisations we partner with meet our own expectations and that of the community.” the spokesperson said.
However, Sea World Resort & Water Park on the Gold Coast was still featured on the Qantas website at time of publishing.
However, Qantas has since clarified the airline’s relationship with dolphin parks.
“We have arrangements to sell thousands of hotels and tourism attractions to our customers on our websites,” the spokesperson said.
“Both Qantas and Jetstar sell hotel rooms and entry tickets to the theme parks on the Gold Coast including Sea World.
“We understand that there are mixed views in the community on this issue, but with many of our customers wanting to go to Sea World while holidaying on the Gold Coast we will continue to make this available to them.”
At Travel DAZE, Pearson reminded travel professionals to be mindful of animal cruelty and to make travellers aware of the potential for it driven by the demand for wildlife experiences.
“Do you want to be the last travel company selling tickets to cruel wildlife attractions?” he asked attendees.
“In a situation where the Queensland government is clearly failing those animals and where Sea World isn’t even going to take the most basic, reasonable steps of stopping their breeding program, then we need you and your customers to step up and act for those animals.
“At the heart of cruel wildlife tourism is a paradox, and that is that the people who go to the venues are animal lovers. They go there because they love animals and they want to see them, but they don’t know about the cruelty behind the scenes. And when they find out, they’re horrified.”
Virgin Holidays, United Airlines and British Airways all recently said they were scrapping sales to captive dolphins attractions.
Earlier this year, Canada went as far as passing a ban on keeping dolphins, whales and porpoises for entertainment. Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK have passed similar bans.