We have a big #cheer today for TripAdvisor, a leading travel website, which will no longer sell tickets to attractions where tourists come into contact with wild animals or endangered species. The policy change includes, but is not limited to, elephant rides, “swim with” activities involving the touching or riding of dolphins, and the petting of captured wild animals such as tigers.
Vacation attractions that feature animals might seem appealing on the surface, but many times there is hidden cruelty underneath. The reality is hundreds of thousands of wild animals across the world are snatched from natural habitats, forced into captivity and subjected to abuse, both mentally and physically, in the name of entertainment and profit. Sadly, many tourists who love animals may actually contribute to animal suffering because they are unaware of this hidden truth.
TripAdvisor‘s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” saidTripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer in a statement.
“We believe the end result of our efforts will be enabling travelers to make more thoughtful choices about whether to visit an animal attraction and to write more meaningful reviews about those attractions,” said Kaufer.
In addition to a ban on these ticket sales, TripAdvisor is introducing an education portal with information on animal welfare practices and advice and opinions from conservation charities. In the future all listings that involve any interaction with wildlife will have a button that clicks through to the portal. The company hopes that users will be encouraged to write more informed reviews after reading this information.
Although the site will still list attractions that include domestic animals, we’re happy to see progress being made on behalf of wildlife and endangered species, especially since we recently addressed this problem in our latest edition of Action Line magazine, with our article “Guilt-Free Getaways,” which detailed the dangers of participating in tourist attractions that involve animal exploitation and offered cruelty-free vacation options instead. Check it out here.