Animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) is calling on Thomas Cook to drop trips to SeaWorld.
UPDATE, Monday August 21: Protesters unfurled a banner outside the operator’s London office that said ‘Thomas Cook: SeaWorld kills’.
It claims that more than 10,000 people in 24 hours have signed an online petition calling on the travel group to drop the “cruel amusement park” from its itineraries.
Peta said: “It’s time for Thomas Cook to follow in the footsteps of numerous other travel providers – including STA Travel and Responsible Travel – and sever ties with this marine ‘abusement’ park.”
The move followed Thomas Cook saying that it had removed animal excursions from sale as a result of audits carried out against independent standards in line with animal welfare policy.
“We will continue to work to raise standards at the animal-related excursions that we offer so that our customers can be confident in all of the trips that they take with us on holiday,” Cook said. “We are the first organisation to remove animal excursions from sale as the direct result of auditing against independent welfare standards, so we’re pretty disappointed that PETA have chosen to target us in this way.”
A SeaWorld spokesman said: “Animal welfare standards at SeaWorld are amongst the highest in the world. Despite the views of animal activists, who want to see an end to all zoological display, the role of accredited zoos and aquariums is more important now than ever before.”