“If you can hug it, ride it, or take a selfie with it in a close encounter, chances are that animal has been suffering and been subject to cruelty” – Nicole Beynon, WAP head of campaigns told the ABC.
So now that we’ve established that there is something cruel going on behind the scenes of these animal attractions, it’s time for us to ask you a question: are you actually funding the problem?
We’re not trying to point fingers. But we do want you to have a long, hard think about that time you might have paid to go and see an animal show. Yes, that includes the elephant show in Thailand you saw that one time on your holiday. Sorry to say, but your hard earned Aussie cash most likely went to hurting the poor animal.
There’s absolutely no judgment here – we’re just trying to spread the information. After all, many visitors of these animal attractions do so because of reviews and ratings they’ve seen online, for example on TripAdvisor. This billion dollar company’s influence over the tourism industry is insane, just Google “things to do in [insert country here]” and you’ll immediately stumble across it. However, it continues to promote and sell tickets (via their subsidiary, Viator) to some of the world’s cruelest wildlife entertainment attractions.
World Animal Protection have set up a petition to call for TripAdvisor to stop the promoting these attractions through their ticket sales and popularity indexes, and introduce a program to help travellers make more informed choices.
Since WAP released their findings on harmful animal tourism, over 100 travel companies worldwide have agreed to stop offering tours to venues with elephant rides and shows. This includes several Australian companies such as Adventure Tours Australia, APT and Intrepid Travel (hats off to you guys!).
So next time you’re trying to think of what to do on your next holiday, we’re begging you to stay off TripAdvisor and search a little bit deeper on Google for some friendly, ethical fun!
Do your research and you’ll be doing no harm, to humans as well as animals.