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Online Dating Service Shows Love for Elephants Following Outreach by World Animal Protection



Match.com removes “Catherine” commercial featuring photos of elephant washing upon learning of hidden cruelty

Today, we are praising Match.com for pulling a commercial in which a woman shares a photo of herself washing an elephant, a tourist activity that is only possible due to cruel training techniques on the elephant.


Elephants being bathed by tourists at an elephant tourism venue

“Ads that portray direct contact with wildlife, particularly positioning them as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, sends a dangerous message that these activities are acceptable regardless of the suffering they involve,” said Alesia Soltanpanah, our Executive Director. “Elephants are trained using cruel methods to perform unnatural behaviors and interact directly with people in ways including what was shown in this ad and it was the right decision to pull it.”

World Animal Protection’s, Checking Out Cruelty report found that more than 550,000 wild animals are used in the tourism industry worldwide. Three out of four venues studied found conservation and welfare issues including damage physically and psychologically to elephants. Elephant-washing activities as shown in the ad force elephants to remain in water longer than they would naturally and reinforce demand for elephants in captivity. The constant presence of strangers requires elephants to be controlled by keepers through harsh obedience training from a young age that includes severe restraining, pain and discomfort.

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A mahout rides an elephant

Elephants forced into direct contact with people are anything but free. Taken from their natural environments and exploited for entertainment and profits, captive elephants tamed for entertainment never truly experience a life free from suffering and cruelty. Close interaction with captive elephants also regularly leads to injuries and fatalities of keepers and sometimes of visitors.

Through our Wildlife. Not Entertainers campaign, we engage with travel companies around the world, revealing the hidden cruelty behind the scenes at wild animal entertainment venues, to help bring about a world in which animals live free from suffering.

To date, more than 240 travel companies around the world including Education First, Thomas Cook, TripAdvisor, World Expeditions, and Extraordinary Journeys have ended the sale and promotion of elephant rides and shows by signing our elephant-friendly pledge or making a commitment to wildlife-friendly travel policies.

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