The boss of Attraction Tickets Direct (ATD) has criticised Thomas Cook’s decision to stop selling trips to killer whale attractions.

Chief executive Oliver Brendon said the move was “misguided” and said there were “bigger and better” fights to be had when it comes to animal welfare.

Cook announced on Sunday it would stop selling tickets to SeaWorld Orlando and Loro Park in Tenerife following customer feedback.

Brendon said: “We abhor poaching, hunting and taking whales from the wild but neither park has done this for decades and they have stopped their breeding programmes.

“Whales born in captivity will die in the wild and be exposed to pollution. Adequate sea sanctuaries don’t exist, so I’m not convinced stopping these sales will do anything positive.

“I think (Cook’s) decision is misguided. There are bigger and better fights to be had that would have an impact on animal welfare such as eradicating plastics in the ocean.

“What about Cook’s holidays to destinations which have wild animal hunting, such as Japan? Will they stop selling these?”

He said ATD, parent of Do Something Different, would continue to sell both parks and its support of SeaWorld and Loro was not commercially driven.

“We sell 10,000 attractions worldwide and would easily survive if we stopped selling them. It represents small revenue for us.”