PETITION: TripAdvisor continues to facilitate animal cruelty despite ticket sales ban

20 February 2018

Wild animal selfies and elephant rides are just some of the activities which users of travel website TripAdvisor cannot buy tickets for through the site.

In October 2016, the company – the world’s largest travel site – announced a new policy under which it would not sell tickets for activities which involve physical contact with wild animals.

While Animals Asia commends this step forward, by continuing to allow these facilities to list on the TripAdvisor platform, this policy does not go far enough.

Through TripAdvisor these facilities can reach an average monthly audience of 455 million people, and as a result, facilities across Asia which exploit and harm animals continue to make a profit.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“TripAdvisor is how these companies continue to operate – it’s like oxygen to them. As long as they can appear on the site, they will be seen by tourists and continue to profit from animal cruelty.”

Animals Asia is currently campaigning to and a cruel monkey circus at a national park in Vietnam and to stop a sun bear family being exploited as photo props in Indonesia. Yet both facilities continue to market themselves through TripAdvisor.

Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director said:

“In countries which do not yet have strong animal welfare standards or laws – such as Indonesia and Vietnam where we work – there is very little impetus for tour providers to change their behaviour. As long as the tourists keep coming, and the activity remains legal in their jurisdiction, they will continue to exploit animals for profit.

“Many of these activities have positive reviews on TripAdvisor, which convinces other tourists to take the tour – but these reviews are no indication of the welfare standards. The average tourist is simply not well-informed enough to judge whether welfare standards are adequate or not.

“When a tourist takes an elephant ride, they don’t see how that wild animal came to be compliant. They don’t see how it came to be working in this unnatural environment and and they will not be on site long enough to see what conditions it lives in.”

Elephants are made tame through a brutal process known as a “crush” during which they are confined and beaten for prolonged periods of time. Even after this “training”, elephants used for tourist activities such as rides are kept compliant through the use of bullhooks, metal poles with sharpened, tapered ends.

While some elephants at tourist facilities have been “rescued” from activities such as logging, many others are taken from the wild to meet the growing demand for tourism.

Jill said:

“To the user, TripAdvisor has replaced the traditional travel agent. It is the first point of call to find out what activities you can do while on holiday. Sadly, in many countries, these activities include elephant rides, wild animal selfies and animal performance. The fact that they continue to be listed on a platform with an animal welfare policy, misleads users into thinking these activities are humane. They absolutely are not and TripAdvisor simply must do more to end its complicity in large-scale animal cruelty.”

In contrast to TripAdvisor’s stance on animal exploitation, many traditional travel agents such as STA Travel and Intrepid have stopped selling tickets and no longer provide any marketing for facilities which exploit animals.

As the world’s premier travel site, TripAdvisor’s continued promotion of facilities offering animal attractions is unacceptable. SIGN THE PETITION and call on TripAdvisor to extend its animal welfare policy to ban the promotion of facilities and activities which exploit animals.