Two major UK tour operators take action for whales and dolphins

Born Free applauds recent news that two UK tour operator giants have announced that they will no longer sell tickets to attractions with captive cetaceans (dolphins, whales and porpoises).

Two dolphins in a pool taking part in a show and playing with a ball

(c) Jo-Anne McArthur for Born Free

Last week, Jet2holidays announced that as from 27th March, they will no longer sell tickets to “venues which feature cetaceans for entertainment”. This follows years of campaigning by international animal welfare NGOs, including Born Free, calling on Jet2holidays to take action on this important issue. 

On 14th March, easyJet holidays announced that they had also stopped the sale of captive cetacean attractions to their customers. This important decision reportedly comes as part of easyJet holidays new animal welfare policy that goes even further by ending the sale of “any attractions which may be harmful to animals within their tours and activities programme, including captivity attractions such as zoos and marine parks, animal performances, animal rides and sporting events involving animals”. 

Sarah Jefferson

Responding to the news, Sarah Jefferson, Born Free’s Captivity Campaigns Information Coordinator said “Jet2holidays and easyJet holidays can be added to a growing list of major travel companies, including British Airways Holidays, Virgin Holidays, Thomas Cook, and Expedia, who have taken important steps to help phase out the exploitation of captive cetaceans for the tourist industry. 
While it is fantastic that many individual travel companies are taking action for positive change, there is still a need for an industry-wide approach to phasing out cetacean captivity and other abusive uses of animals in tourism. Born Free is working with our NGO partners to ensure that the UK travel industry makes positive changes to improve the welfare of animals involved in or affected by tourism. 
In the meantime, Born Free has identified a number of key activities that we think should be included in the ‘Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Act’, which passed into law in September 2023. The Act promises to ban, in England and Northern Ireland, the sale and advertisement of abusive activities that involve animals abroad. Among the activities we think should be included are marine park shows and ‘swim-with’ activities involving whales or dolphins. However, as things stand, the Government has thus far failed to initiate the process of developing the Activity Regulations required to identify the activities that will be proscribed under the Act. 
Working with our partner organisations in the UK and beyond, Born Free is calling on the Secretary of State to take action to ensure that Activity Regulations under the ‘Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Act’ are urgently developed.   

Find out more about Born Free’s work to help dolphins, whales and porpoises in captivity: