5 shocking examples of animal abuse available right now on TripAdvisor

23 February 2018

Forget the dark web, if you want to eat a vulnerable species, cuddle captured wild animals or pose with a drugged tiger, just jump on TripAdvisor.

While TripAdvisor made a big play of its animal welfare policy in 2016, today the site remains a key advertising channel for facilities across Asia which exploit animals.

TripAdvisor may no longer directly sell tickets for facilities which include contact with wild animals, but they do allow them to list on the site. And more often than not, these facilities have positive reviews which encourage other tourists to visit them, too.

Not only does this cause an endless cycle of direct suffering for animals, but the simple message of what constitutes animal cruelty, of what conditions and activities damage animal welfare and of which animal behaviours are natural, is being drowned out.

In the examples below, some animals are killed and eaten, others are stolen from the wild as babies and beaten or trained into submission to perform for humans, and still others are quite possibly drugged to enable picture-taking to occur. In all cases, the animals’ best interests are disregarded in the quest to turn a profit.

Here are just five examples of animal cruelty available through TripAdvisor right now:

These restaurants sell snakes - including king cobras (a vulnerable species) - which are killed in front of diners before being cooked. Prior to death the snake’s still-beating heart is cut out of its body and put into a rice wine shot for a guest to swallow whole.

TripAdvisor still sells tickets for such tours which are popular with Western backpackers.

TripAdvisor review score: 4.5/5 (98% positive)

A large-facility offering activities such as white-water rafting, but mainly revolves around elephant rides. The site also has three captive sun bears which tourists can pay to cuddle like human babies and have their picture taken alongside. Animals Asia is currently campaigning to end the sun bear interactions at the facility.

TripAdvisor review score: 4.5/5 (93% positive)

Tourists can pay to cuddle, lift up and be pulled through the water by captive dolphins. The dolphins are kept in a fenced-in pen of seawater which is far too small for their welfare needs, while the close human interactions are utterly inappropriate for the species.

TripAdvisor review score: 4.5/5 (94% positive)

This UNESCO-accredited biosphere is a hugely important area for Vietnam’s population of wild macaques. However, the facility also features a free monkey circus in which chained macaques are forced to perform tricks such as riding bicycles and doing gymnastics for the human audience. Animals Asia is currently campaigning to end the monkey circus at the facility.

TripAdvisor review score: 3.5/5 (86% positive)

*Update: As of April 2018, Can Gio Bioreserve has ended all animal circus performances in a direct response to Animals Asia's campaign.

The clear and simple message that human interactions with wild animals - such as touching and cuddling for photographs - can never be compatible with their basic welfare needs is once again blurred by a facility in search of profit. Tourists pay to play with and have their pictures taken with tigers and can even choose packages to select whether they interact with cubs or adults.

TripAdvisor review score: 4/5 (83% positive)

Allowing these facilities to continue self-promoting is completely unethical. SIGN THE PETITION and demand TripAdvisor pulls all facilities which exploit animals from their platform.