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Published on Thursday, October 24, 2019

Expedia under pressure to stop selling dolphin shows

Expedia has been accused of profiting from 'cruel dolphin entertainment' by an animal welfare group.

World Animal Protection said the online travel agent is selling tickets to 'demeaning shows that exploit animals'.

It has launched a petition to tell Expedia to stop promoting and selling tickets to SeaWorld and other 'cruel dolphinariums'.

"Major travel brands like TripAdvisor, Virgin Holidays, British Airways Holidays, have already shown leadership and cut ties - now it's time for others to follow suit," said Nick Stewart, World Animal Protection's global head of dolphins campaign.

"That's why we are calling on Expedia Group and the remaining travel companies that are still lagging behind, to end the sale of tickets to dolphin shows, so that we can end their suffering once and for all."

Expedia said it would investigate the allegations but issued a statement saying that it plays an integral role in educating travellers about wildlife tourism so they can make informed decisions on how they travel and interact with the animals on our planet.

"Therefore, we have taken steps to remove certain wildlife interactions from our sites not only in reaction to questionable and unsafe practices but in reaction to feedback from our travellers," it said.

It said it continues to work with five global, industry-leading wildlife and animal protection groups to grow its Wildlife Tourism Education Portal.

"We are grateful for the close coordination with these organisations and our goal for the Wildlife Tourism Education Portal is to help better inform travellers about animal welfare and wildlife tourism," it said.

"The portal includes information as to whether an activity involves animal interactions, with a direct link to learn more about wildlife tourism and animal welfare; and broader education around animal welfare and links to participate in the conversation and take action if a traveller is interested."

World Animal Protection has released a report today, called Behind the Smile, which claims there are 336 dolphin entertainment venues in 54 countries from the US, Mexico and the Caribbean and China which imprison at least 3,029 dolphins.

It said even though dolphins may appear to be smiling, they 'experience stress and suffering at every stage of their miserable lives'.

"Dolphin entertainment is animal cruelty masquerading as wholesome family fun," said Stewart.

"Companies that sell tickets to these shows are cashing in on cruelty and the greedy dolphinarium industry has spun a web of lies, portraying themselves as carers, not captors."

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