World Animal Protection's statement on TripAdvisor's new animal welfare policy

26 April 2018

Nick Stewart, Head of Wildlife in Entertainment at World Animal Protection says: “TripAdvisor’s new animal welfare policy is a step forward, but it creates significant loopholes and falls well short of what it’s intended to do: protect wild animals".

The message that the travel site is sending out is conflicted; their new policy bans some shows and performances but not all, and they continue to sell tickets to some physical interactions with wild animals instead of banning all wildlife interactions.
 
“TripAdvisor’s policy and education portal should demonstrate exactly what good and bad animal welfare look like, to fully inform paying customers of the choices they make when they are visiting wildlife entertainment attractions.
 
“We want TripAdvisor to remove the sale and promotion of all cruel wildlife entertainment attractions. The travel industry is learning fast that using wild animals for entertainment is cruel – these animals are taken from their mothers at a young age and endure harsh training regimes to break their spirits and make them submissive enough to entertain tourists.
 
Gajender K Sharma, India Country Director of World Animal Protection says:
“TripAdvisor has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of wild animals by educating their customers and only promoting wildlife-friendly alternatives, like watching whales and dolphins responsibly in the wild. This is where they could make a real impact. If no further changes are made to TripAdvisor’s policy, wild animals will continue to suffer, and they will fall behind while other travel companies take the lead.”
 
World Animal Protection is calling for TripAdvisor:

  •  To close the loopholes and drop the distinction between what is an unnatural and demeaning wildlife attraction and commit to removing all cruel wildlife entertainment attractions. This would include ending sales to well-known places like Sea World and Loro Parque, which still seem to be on sale, despite their new animal welfare policy 
  •    To do more to educate their visitors on the website.

 Notes to editors:

  • Launched in 2015, our Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign is moving the wildlife tourism industry away from cruel forms of entertainment towards positive wildlife experiences where tourists can see wild animals in the wild or true sanctuaries
  • Our campaign gives a voice to the 550,000 wild animals that are currently in captivity and being abused for the sake of so-called tourist entertainment.

Our success to date:

  •  Instagram took action to inform its users about the cruelty of taking selfies with wild animals, following our investigation into wild animals used for entertainment in the Amazon. When one of Instagram’s 800 million users searches for a hashtag associated with harmful behaviour to animals, they will see a content advisory screen and the option to visit a dedicated page where Instagram warn them to consider whether an animal has been smuggled, poached or abused for the sake of tourism.
  •  As a result of another investigation in 2016, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest online travel platform stopped selling and promoting tickets to some of the cruellest wildlife tourist attractions and launched an education portal to help inform travellers about animal welfare issues.
  • We have mobilized over 1.5 million people across the world to take action to end the cruelty inflicted on wild animals in entertainment.
  • Nearly  200 travel companies across the world have committed to stop selling and promoting elephant rides and shows.
     
“TripAdvisor has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of wild animals by educating their customers and only promoting wildlife-friendly alternatives, like watching whales and dolphins responsibly in the wild. This is where they could make a real impact. If no further changes are made to TripAdvisor’s policy, wild animals will continue to suffer, and they will fall behind while other travel companies take the lead," Gajender K Sharma.
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