EF Education First commits to wildlife-friendly travel

December 10 2018

EF is first international education company to collaborate with World Animal Protection to ensure travel programs are wildlife friendly and avoid attractions inconsistent with animal welfare policies

EF Education First, the world leader in international education, has worked with us to assist in the development of a new animal welfare policy and the implementation of animal welfare guidelines throughout EF’s educational travel programs.

The collaboration is the first in the educational travel industry.

A venue in Thailand where elephants are used in entertainment shows for tourists

“We are excited to announce World Animal Protection’s collaboration with EF, which will bring positive change for animals around the world for many generations,” said Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director, World Animal Protection, US.

“While most tourists are unaware of the hidden cruelty behind elephant rides, swimming with dolphins and tiger selfies, EF can make a real difference, by teaching travelers how to identify and avoid inhumane wildlife tourist attractions.

We will continue to work with EF to build animal-friendly travel experiences and stop tourism to wildlife attractions that are harmful to animals.”

As part of this initiative, EF has committed to reviewing all activities involving animals across all of its travel brands, which include but are not limited to: EF Go Ahead Tours, EF Educational Tours, EF College Study Tours, EF Ultimate Break, EF Gap Year and EF Explore America. 

A mahout controlling a young elephant

The review will ensure all animal-related activities meet high standards of animal welfare, phasing out the sale and promotion of attractions that include performances by wild animals and experiences that include handling, touching, posing with or riding wild animals. 

“EF has always strived to work with suppliers who have high standards of animal welfare, but we felt that we could still do more in this area,” said Dr. Edward Hult, CEO, EF North America.

The company has also committed to provide training to its staff and tour directors worldwide to help them identify wildlife-friendly travel options and the types of attractions to avoid.

As an additional measure, EF has signed our elephant-friendly travel pledge, publicly committing to no longer sell or promote attractions that offer elephant rides and shows.  

EF joins a movement of over 200 travel-focused companies around the world that have committed to stop selling cruel elephant entertainment. By signing the pledge, EF will improve the lives of elephants around the world and help move the global travel industry towards a wildlife-friendly future.

“EF is proud to take a leading role in enhancing animal welfare throughout the travel industry with this initiative,” said Hult.

Elephants at a high welfare venue in Thailand.

“We deliver life-changing educational experiences to our travelers everyday – and although these kinds of experiences have never been a significant part of any of our travel itineraries, we have the power to change the lives of wild animals around the world by making animal welfare a priority, eliminating cruel activities like elephant rides from our tours and by educating our travelers about animal-friendly travel.”

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 where animals live free from suffering.

We are encouraged that so many companies have signed the pledge, including EF Education First in July 2018.

As a global leader in educating young travelers EF will improve the lives of elephants around the world and help transition the tourism industry to an animal-friendly future.

“We are excited to announce World Animal Protection’s collaboration with EF, which will bring positive change for animals around the world for many generations" - Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director, World Animal Protection, US.
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