Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld announced on Thursday that they are ending their longstanding partnership when the contract expires at the end of the 2014. The Southwest-SeaWorld longstanding partnership began back in 1988.
After Southwest received criticism by an animal rights group for its partnership with SeaWorld and after the release of the controversial documentary, Blackfish, it seems that Southwest decided to end the marriage due to public opinion. The documentary raised serious concerns about the treatment of killer whales at the theme-park chain.
Change.org gathered over 32,000 signatures for a petition asking the airline to help stop animal cruelty by ending its promotion and partnership with SeaWorld because of the ill-treatment the killer whales receive while in captivity.
The airline and the park said they reached a mutual decision not to renew the promotional marketing relationship because they are both seeking new market ventures.
Southwest currently has three planes with paint jobs featuring SeaWorld themes on the side, those planes will return to the company’s traditional livery.
“Southwest and SeaWorld have enjoyed their long relationship, and wish each other continued success,” the companies said in a statement.
What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding SeaWorld?