The legendary musician Morrissey recently lambasted Jet2holidays for selling tickets to a Tenerife zoo that offers animal shows.
It has come to light that the former Smiths frontman penned a letter to the holiday firm, offering the tour operator to drop its links to the marine parks that continue to use captive orcas and dolphins for public entertainment.
Addressed to Steve Heapy, the chief executive of Jet2, the musician expressed that the animals at the zoo belonged in the ocean and should have the ability to socialise and find food — something they are unable to do while kept in a “cramped, concrete tank”.
One of the main marine parks that Morrissey referred to was the Loro Parque Zoo in Tenerife, which Jet2holidays sells tickets for and promotes on its website. The venue was previously featured in the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which explored the premature deaths of orcas held at the resort.
“Day in and day out, these animals can do little else but swim in endless circles. They’re even forced to perform demeaning tricks in exchange for food,” he wrote. “Anyone who thinks that’s entertainment needs to get their head checked. And anyone who profits from this abuse should be ashamed.”
He also noted the conditions for the bottlenose dolphins to be “bleak”, claimed that they were “crammed together at the marine park in a tank that’s smaller than the car park” and expressed his desire to meet with Heapy to discuss the issue.
“I hope I can tell my audience that Jet2holidays is no longer associated with cruel marine parks,” the singer added.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also launched a petition, urging the holiday firm to sever ties with marine parks. The petition now stands at close to 40,000 signatures.In response to the backlash, Loro Parque’s orca expert said that the marine park was “well managed” and that the activities performed by the whales were “carefully curated to promote their physical and mental wellbeing, while also providing educational and entertainment value for human observers” (via The Guardian).
They also added that the zoo has been “extremely transparent” about the death of orcas in their facilities, and that independent vets and pathologists concluded that “the causes of death were unrelated to the animals being in a marine park”.
Jet2holidays issued a statement to NME, which read:
“We are aware of the debate surrounding such venues, and whilst there continues to be high customer demand, we recognise how critical it is that animal welfare standards are adhered to. It is important to note that we are committed to only working with venues that agree to uphold the highest standards.”