Budget Canadian airline WestJet recently removed all marketing and promotional materials related to SeaWorld from its company website. The action comes after pressure from animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and 160,000 emails that concerned citizens sent to WestJet requesting it sever ties with the troubled aquatic park. Since the 2013 release of animal-rights documentary Blackfish, SeaWorld has been in a financial downward spiral, reporting $30 million in losses and 1.2 million fewer visitors in 2017. Former CEO Joel Manby departed this year after stakeholders filed a class-action lawsuit against SeaWorld for failing to disclose the financial impact of Blackfish. “No compassionate company today is willing to associate itself with SeaWorld’s orca prisons,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on kind consumers to stay away from SeaWorld and choose to do business with travel providers such as WestJet that have pledged to do the same.” In addition to WestJet, a number of companies—including Hyundai Motor America, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Taco Bell—have recently cut ties with SeaWorld. As a token of appreciation for its compassionate decision, PETA sent WestJet a box of vegan whale-shaped chocolates.
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