Five dolphins swim just beneath the surface of clear blue water.

No more captive dolphin shows’: travel company Expedia takes a stand for animals

Expedia will no longer offer holidays that involve dolphins being forced to perform or interact with humans for ‘entertainment’.
Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 19 January 2022

The travel company has updated its animal welfare policy in a major step forward for captive marine animals all over the world.

Following in the positive steps of major travel companies like TripAdvisor and Booking.com, Expedia has taken a stand for wild and exotic animals trapped in the ‘entertainment’ industry. The travel giant will no longer advertise performances or interactions with dolphins and other cetaceans (aquatic mammals like whales and porpoises).

The announcement, made on Expedia’s Twitter, was met with praise and celebrations from caring people all around the world. This is more positive news for dolphins in Australia – after new regulations were introduced earlier this year outlawing the commercial breeding and importation of dolphins in NSW.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A tweet from Expedia Group reads

Marine animals suffer when used for ‘entertainment’

The suffering of captive sea animals was brought to light for many people in the eye-opening documentary, Blackfish, which focused on orcas in SeaWorld (USA). While there are no captive orcas in Australia, sensitive and social marine mammals including dolphins and seals are still ‘on display’ or forced to perform in NSW and QLD.

These animals spend their entire lives confined to artificial pools. No matter how large these enclosures may appear to humans, the space the pools at marine parks or aquariums offer is not comparable to the vast oceans the animals would naturally travel across. Existing in confinement, they are also unable to create social bonds of their choosing, despite being highly social animals within their family and community groups in the wild.

Captive marine animals have been known to behave with abnormal, repetitive movements, such as head-bobbing, and circling or spiralling swimming patterns. These movements, known as stereotypies, indicate stress and boredom. Stereotypies are also noticeable in some captive land animals used for ‘entertainment’ in zoos and circuses.

Expedia’s decision is great news for other animals, too

Thankfully, beyond dolphins and other cetaceans, Expedia’s updated animal welfare policy also rules out activities that allow “intentional physical contact with wild or exotic animals” such as elephants, big cats, bears, reptiles and primates too.

Evidently, more and more individuals, companies, and governments are becoming increasingly conscious of the complex inner lives of these animals. Just like the companion animals who share our homes, dolphins, seals, and other sea animals like lobsters and cuttlefish, are aware, feeling, and can suffer. Expedia’s decision will undoubtedly play an important part in shaping a kinder future for sea animals – a future where animal-friendly entertainment leaves these inquisitive, social animals to live freely in their natural environment.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A dolphin and calf floating beneath the water's surface, with beams of sunshine shining onto them.

Marine animals still need your help

  • Appreciate the majesty of ocean animals by enjoying nature documentaries or photos, or observing them in the wild, instead of supporting marine parks and aquariums.
  • Learn more about why keeping marine animals in captivity for ‘entertainment’ needs to end for good, and share information with family and friends.
  • Support the team at Action for Dolphins, who are working tirelessly to end the cruelty of dolphin captivity.