Thanks to films such as Blackfish, it appears that we the holidaying public are becoming sensitised to the ethical issues around the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity: in fact, so much so that a staggering 86% no longer want to see these animals as part of an overseas holiday.
These fascinating findings come from a poll carried out by Censuswide on behalf of www.responsibletravel.com , along with international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation which surveyed 2,050 average British holidaymakers.
As Will Travers (OBE), President of the Born Free Foundation says, "it seems clear that when presented with the information on which to make an informed decision, British travellers have had enough."
We asked people at the beginning of our survey whether they'd like to visit a marine park as part of an overseas holiday to see whales and dolphins. 61% said no. A pretty convincing majority. We then went further and showed those who had declared an interest in this type of holiday experience, a short statement setting out some basic facts about wild and captive whales and dolphins. After reading this information, 64% changed their minds about whether or not they wanted to visit a marine park to see these animals. This is staggering.
Furthermore, ethical considerations are the overwhelming reason for the respondents' decision - 75% of the initial non-supporters felt it was 'wrong to keep whales and dolphins in small tanks', whilst a further 19% said they 'don't support or attend any zoos'.
I strongly believe that as public awareness of whale and dolphin captivity issues continues to increase, thanks to films such as 'Blackfish' and important campaigns such as our 'Say NO to orca circuses' petition with the World Cetacean Alliance Working Group on Captivity, time is ticking faster than ever before for this industry.
Our petition has already been signed by over 8,500 individuals, travel companies, charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other businesses.
For too long the travel industry has buried its collective head in the sand on this issue. Just as there was a point when circuses' time was up, the same is happening with orca circuses. The time has come for travel companies, and the representative body ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), to face the facts and stop supporting this irresponsible form of tourism.
As Will Travers says, "it is time to bring the curtain down on the exploitation of whales and dolphins in captivity. There are no longer any captive dolphins in the UK and I hope that the result of this survey will hasten the day when there are no captive dolphins kept for public entertainment anywhere in the world. We have a responsibility to make that dream a reality."
Read more about responsibletravel.com's campaign to Say No to Orca Circuses.