Sir Richard Branson is only 54 years old.
He heads the Virgin Group, which consists of more than 400 different companies, and has a net worth of billions.
This is a man who has worked his way to the top by understanding the world around him and challenging everything in it.
He also has a long history of humanitarian efforts. In the 90s, he joined Nelson Mandela in forming The Elders, a group of strong leaders in South Africa. He also formed the Branson School of Entrepreneurship.
He’s spent years investing in people and communities. He’s spent considerable amounts of his wealth giving back.
But none of that matters to animals rights zealots. If you disagree with their dogma – you become their enemy.
Nothing else matters – just #obey
It’s well known that these activists yell first and learn later and Sir Richard Branson has become the latest target because one of his companies, “Virgin Holiday”, provides vacations to SeaWorld and other well respected marine facilities.
Sir Branson has been criticized by all the usual suspects like PETA, HSUS and their minions for his connection to zoos and aquariums – especially since the release of the mockumentary Blackfish.
So he presented the Virgin Pledge for Sea Mammals, a pledge by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin that was posted on Virgin.com on September 30, 2014.
We’ll let you hear it from him:
Today marks a significant step in our work to protect whales and dolphins in tourism. In February I announced that Virgin businesses will only continue to work with suppliers that pledge to no longer take sea mammals from the wild.
We also looked into the issue of ending captivity, which is a cause of great importance to many. We didn’t find any easy answers, as simply releasing captive or captive-born cetaceans into the wild is currently not supported by most scientists concerned about the welfare of the animals. We will follow this debate very closely as it evolves.
In the last few weeks, our team has visited suppliers around the world to discuss critical issues and build support. We are releasing the names of those that have signed the Virgin Pledge on the Virgin Unite website today.
This is of course just the start of our journey. I am encouraged that Virgin Holidays have initiated a conversation that has education, conservation and the highest standard of care for these magnificent creatures at its heart.
We will also continue to champion other causes that advance ocean conservation, such as ending drive hunts and unregulated fisheries, or the creation of more marine protected areas.
And crucially, we will seek to engage others in the tourism industry to build further support for the protection and preservation of ocean wildlife. Business must be a force for good, and I hope that others will join us in sending a clear message that it is neither acceptable nor necessary to take whales and dolphins from the ocean.
Sir Branson and his company spent months doing research, visiting facilities and even working with activist organizations to come to the best conclusions.
Conclusions based on facts and science – like the rest of us usually do.
So far 30 marine parks have signed the pledge.
But because Sir Richard Branson did not cower to the factually challenged – everything about him is being questioned.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the World Cetacean Alliance released a statement of outrage. They, of course, cited the debunked film “Blackfish” as evidence for the damage caused by captivity.
All of this anti-Virgin sentiment is being hosted by TheDodo.com, which has a documented problem with telling the truth.
Their intentions are obviously off the mark.
But there is one group involved in this whole thing that do have their hearts in the right place – Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say that Sir Branson and Virgin’s reputation is like the proverbial seawall where the activists cries will be broken like waves in a storm.
Win one for the truth.