By Linda St.Cyr
Public support for marine park shows has flipped, according to a poll carried out by ResponsibleTravel.com, an ethical travel company, and international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation. The travel company and the charity surveyed 2,050 people in the UK and found that growing public awareness of ethical issues and physical implications of keeping dolphins and whales in captivity was changing public opinion.
86 percent of the people surveyed said they would not wish to visit a marine park to see whales and dolphins as part of an overseas holiday. It should be noted that survey responders were to read a statement prior to answering their final question. The statement read:
“Captive whales and dolphins are kept in marine parks and visited by tourists on holiday. They are highly intelligent, social animals. In the wild, they:
*live in family groups, called pods of up to 100 individuals;
*have considerably higher life expectancies than their counterparts in captivity;
*can swim the equivalent distance of London to Sheffield (260kkm) or more in one day;
*are capable of diving to depths greater than the height of Niagra Falls (60m) and hunting live fish using sophisticated techniques.
In captivity these animals are confined to tanks, they are fed dead fish and commonly develop problems such as abnormal repetitive behavior and aggression. They are trained to perform tricks and stunts, often to loud music and a cheering crowd.”
Of those who responded that they would visit a marine park, 64 percent changed their mind after reading the statement to say that they would not visit a marine park.
Justin Francis, Managing Director at responsibletravel.com, said that as public awareness of whale and dolphin captivity issues continues to increase, it is important for travel companies and the representative body ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) to stop supporting “orca circuses” as it is an irresponsible form of tourism.
Responsibletravel.com has joined forces with the World Cetacean Alliance and launched a petition encouraging the travel industry to stop supporting killer whale and dolphin shows. Born Free Foundation works worldwide for wild animal welfare and compassionate conservation.
Over 2000 dolphins, 227 beluga whales, 52 killer whales, 37 porpoises and 17 false killer whales are held in 343 captive dolphin facilities in 63 countries around the world. The cetaceans are used for public entertainment and often kept in facilities that are just a fraction of the animals’ natural habitat.
Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.