On Southwest Air’s blog, Marilee McInnis, Southwest Air's senior manager of culture & communications, responded to the delivery of the petition:
“Over the past few weeks we’ve observed a number of Customers and community members reach out to Southwest Airlines regarding our partnership with SeaWorld. We want our Customers to know that we’ve heard your concerns and we do not take them lightly. I felt it was necessary to share our position on the partnership and hopefully address any concerns.
We have a longstanding relationship with SeaWorld that is based on travel and bringing families together. We are engaged with Sea World related to the recent concerns being raised. We are in a listening and education mode with the goal of upholding our commitments as a good corporate citizen. As a responsible member of the community, we support several organizations and events that are devoted to maintaining the natural world.
At this time, our partnership with SeaWorld will continue.”
Animal advocate Robin Merritt, a former Southwest Air customer, is behind the petition, had this to say about Southwest Air's response:
“I'm encouraged that Southwest Air has responded to the 27,000 people who signed my Change.org petition by saying they are now in an active "listening and education mode," but its disheartening that they're holding on to the partnership during this process -- meaning they continue to support SeaWorld's cruel confinement of marine mammals. Might I suggest that its employees go on Netflix and watch Blackfish or talk with some of the former SeaWorld trainers who have insider knowledge of what happens behind the scenes?
I hope Southwest will stop cheerleading SeaWorld's cruelty just like many artists including Willie Nelson, Martina McBride, and Heart have already done.”
Look for more on this developing story as the week continues.