Over 160 travel companies commit to end sale of elephant rides and shows
In order to end the cruel abuse of elephants in the tourist entertainment industry we have secured the help of major tour operators.
We have been engaging with tour operators around the world to secure their commitment to not send their customers to venues where they can ride elephants and see shows where these majestic animals are forced to perform.
Over 160 global travel companies have signed our elephant-friendly pledge and agreed to no longer offer visits to venues with elephant rides and shows in any of their markets. Among these are popular brands from across the world, like The Travel Corporation (including well-known brands like Contiki), TUI Benelux, Thomas Cook Northern Europe and Intrepid Travel Group.
"In order to end these cruel rides and shows, we must end the availability for tourists to visit these attractions," said U.S. Executive Director Priscilla Ma. "It's an encouraging sign of change that this number of major travel industry players agree there is no place for elephant cruelty within their travel packages."
We still need more on board
Despite this large number of elephant-friendly travel companies, there are still travel companies yet to commit to ending elephant rides and other cruel elephant entertainment.
A lifetime of abuse in the tourism industry
In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. This involves physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, they may think the elephants look at peace, but this is because their spirit has been broken. Ongoing use of the bullhook reminds the animal of human dominance.
The cruelty does not end after the crush. When not performing or used for rides most elephants are kept on chains, unable to socially interact with one another. This is hugely damaging to their physical and psychological wellbeing.
“World Animal Protection wants to see this cruelty stop,” Ma adds, “and tourists can help by avoiding animal attractions while on vacation and encouraging more companies to join our movement."
The elephants need our commitment
We want to see this cruelty stop – but we also need to think about what happens to the animals already captive at these places, and what the future might hold for them. That’s why we are working hard to find tour operators who are prepared to go the extra mile and invest in transforming existing elephant camps into humane, safe sanctuaries – places where the animals are free to live and behave as naturally as possible, if they can’t be released back into the wild.
And join our movement and tell the world that elephants are wildlife – not entertainers.