Thomas Cook, a travel agent, has announced that it will not be selling tickets to two attractions that keep killer whales anymore due to concerns over animal welfare.
In a blog post that was published today, Peter Fankhauser, the chief executive of the company, said that the Thomas Cook had made the decision following some discussions with experts on animal welfare and some of its customers.
He stated: “This was not a decision we took lightly.”
He added: “We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months…We have also taken feedback from our customers, more than 90 per cent of whom told us that it was important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously.”
The CEO disclosed that starting next summer, the firm would stop selling tickets to animal parks that feature captive orcas.
Apparently, the two parks that will be affected are Loro Parque in Tenerife and Seaworld, in Florida.
Thomas Cook disclosed that it had taken the said decision even though both parks passed its welfare audits and despite the improvements that they had made on how they treat the animals.
The CEO added: “We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months, and taken account of the scientific evidence they have provided.”
He continued: “We have also taken feedback from our customers, more than 90% of whom told us that it was important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously.
“And when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them.”
He concluded: “I am clear about the kind of business that we want to be. That’s why we introduced our animal welfare policy 18 months ago, and that’s why we’ve taken this decision today.”
Meanwhile, it was reported by the Sunday Times that Thomas Cook may possibly sell a stake in its airline business in order to raise funds to pay down debt and fund expansion.
A spokesperson from the company stated: “Thomas Cook has consistently said that we are open to playing our part in consolidation where it makes sense for our business. We have no current plans to sell our airline.”