Southwest Airlines says it will not cancer its more than quarter century long relationship with Sea World of Texas, despite demands by some 27,000petittion signers that it paint over its distinctive 'Shamu One' 737 jet, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Animal rights activists presented the petitions to the Airline at its headquarters at Love Field in Dallas, after the controversial documentary 'Blackfish' blasted Sea World's handling of the Orca whales at its parks, and the training of the human handlers who perform with the whales.
"Sea World has had a long history of abusing animals, and shows little regard for its employees' welfare," said petition signer Eddie Garza, who admitted he was swayed by the documentary.
Southwest Airlines released a statement saying it is willing to be in a 'listening and education mode with the goal of upholding out commitments as a good corporate citizen.'
But the airline said it's 'partnership with Sea World will continue.'
Robin Merritt, who calls herself a 'animal activist' and who started the on line petition, praised Southwest for being willing to discuss the issue with Sea World.
"But it is disheartening that they are holding on to the partnership during this process, meaning they continue to support Sea World's cruel confinement of marine animals," she told 1200 WOAI news.
She pointed out that musicians including Heart, Martina McBride and Willie Nelson have declined to perform concerts at Sea World parks due to the issue.
Garza says he'll keep pushing Southwest and other corporate partners of Sea World.
"We hope that Southwest will actually stand by its code of ethics," he said.
The campaign against Southwest Airlines is part of a new tactic favored by activists on all sides of the political spectrum to attack and try to marginalize the supporters of people and organizations they oppose, in an attempt to isolate them and take away major revenue sources. Both conservatives and liberals have attack sponsors of programs ranging form MSNBC to the Rush Limbaugh Program to try to isolate people with whom they have political disagreements.