Thomas Cook, a UK-based travel agent, has announced that it is going to stop selling trips to animal attractions that keep orcas in captivity.
The travel agent announced the launch of its animal welfare policy 18 months ago, and since then it says that it has used the research of independent auditors at animal attractions worldwide to make sure that they were compliant with Association of British Travel Agents’ (ABTA) animal welfare policy.
The research found that 29 of the 49 attractions that were researched were not compliant, while the remaining 20 were said to have made ‘significant improvements’ to the way they treat their animals after the audit.
The decision to stop working with all animal attractions that keep orcas in captivity means that the company will stop working with two attractions that both passed their audit and made improvements. The decision was made, Thomas Cook says, after it found that 90 per cent of its customers believe that holiday companies should take animal welfare seriously. It was also made after speaking to animal welfare experts over the last 18 months.
“I am clear about the kind of business that we want to be,” said Peter Fankhauser, Group Chief Executive at Thomas Cook. “That’s why we introduced our animal welfare policy 18 months ago, and that’s why we’ve taken this decision today. And when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them.”
Thomas Cook has said it will continue to work with both animal attractions over the next 12 months whilst it prepares for its exit.