On Wednesday October 2, 2019, TripAdvisor made the welcomed announcement that it will no longer sell tickets to facilities that breed or import captive cetaceans. SeaWorld is among the companies that will be affected by this new policy.
Sonar’s Director of Research and biologist at Terramar Research, Dr. Toni Frohoff, was among the numerous individuals interviewed by The Guardian who voiced strong support of the policy at TripAdvisor. “Science has revealed the immense suffering and early mortality imposed upon cetaceans exploited for captive public display. These facilities also threaten real conservation efforts to save animals in the wild,” said Frohoff. “Now that we know better, we should do better, and not support these facilities by visiting them.
Sonar has long advocated against keeping cetaceans captive for any reason beyond their rehabilitation and eventual release, or permanent retirement from public display. Scientific explorations have solidly established that cetaceans are self-aware, and able to perceive the injustices and harms that are inherent features of a life of confinement and perpetual denial of their ability to make meaningful decisions about their own lives. The implications of displaying dominated, and often depressed, captive individuals to children, and encouraging children to establish loving relationships based on these experiences, is deeply troubling and only leads to further misunderstandings of who other species are.
Sonar applauds TripAdvisor’s decision and encourages other travel companies to enact similar policy.