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Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld Entertainment are ending their 25-year-old marketing partnership, as the airline has come under fire from animal rights activists over the relationship.

Officials at both companies said Thursday that the partnership wouldn't be renewed at the end of the year when the current contract expires. SeaWorld says the decision was mutual.

A Southwest spokeswoman says it was a business decision as the airline intends to focus on international service.

In January, more than a dozen animal rights activist held a rally and dropped off a petition at Southwest's headquarters at Dallas Love Field, urging the airline to end the relationship.

The activists cited the documentary, 'Blackfish,' which raised questions about the treatment of orcas at SeaWorld and the circumstances that caused the killer whale Tilikum to kill SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

Southwest has painted several aircraft to look like the park's famous marine mammal, Shamu. Last year, Southwest unveiled Penguin One, an aircraft painted with several penguins as part of SeaWorld Orlando's new attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.


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