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Air Canada, WestJet latest companies to cut ties to SeaWorld ahead of whale bill

Air Canada calls the move a "commercial decision"


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PHOTO: sea lion/Josh Hallett via Flickr

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. are joining a growing wave of companies that have cut ties to SeaWorld, in sync with the spirit of a federal bill to ban whale and dolphin captivity and in the wake of concerns raised by animal rights advocates.

The Senate passed legislation last Tuesday that would make captivity and breeding of cetaceans such as dolphins and whales a criminal offence.

Air Canada says it stopped offering SeaWorld tickets for purchase on its website last week, calling the move a “commercial decision.” WestJet dropped the tickets – previously available as part of vacation packages – last August.

SeaWorld, which has three marine theme parks in Florida, Texas and California under the umbrella of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., confirmed Monday that æthe business relationship has ended” with both airlines.

Carriers and other companies such as JetBlue Airways Corp., Southwest Airlines Co. and Taco Bell have all jettisoned their relationship with SeaWorld, many amid the fallout from the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” that focused on orca captivity.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) executive vice-president Tracy Reiman, who helped organize an email campaign urging Air Canada to sever ties, says that confining animals to “concrete cells” is “abusive.”

Bill S-203, introduced by an independent Liberal senator with Green party support nearly three years ago, is poised to wind through the House of Commons over the next seven months.

 

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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