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Finally! In 2016, American travel company, TripAdvisor, ended ticket sales to animal attractions (such as elephant rides, circuses, and wild animal selfies), but still allowed the same attractions to promote on their website. Trip providers in Vietnam and Indonesia, for instance, were still able to promote cruel elephant rides on the popular travel site; TripAdvisor just couldn’t physically sell tickets to them. Now, thanks to public pressure, TripAdvisor and its subsidiary Viator announced new additions to their animal welfare policy on selling tickets to animal attractions.

Effective immediately, TripAdvisor and Viator will no longer sell tickets to specific “experiences” where captive wild or endangered animals are forced to perform meaningless tricks for tourists. The additions to their animal welfare policy were announced as awareness about the ways tourist interactions can impact wild and endangered animals around the world grows. What many still don’t understand is that in order to make animals submit to unnatural demands, they are kidnapped from the wild and beaten to perform. Being handled by tourist after tourist also exposes these animals to a vast array of germs and diseases.

While TripAdvisor’s policy change is a step in the right direction, it’s not a full victory. Although TripAdvisor and its subsidiaries will not sell tickets to or generate booking revenue from specific experiences where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species, there are exceptions. Children’s petting zoos, aquarium touch pools, feeding or touching programs in a captive environment, and invertebrate touch and feel experiences in a captive environment are all permissible.

As World Animal Protection (WAP) points out, TripAdvisor has created a loophole in their policy. “The message that the travel site is sending out is conflicted; their new policy bans some shows and performances but not all, and it looks they are going back on their original policy by continuing to sell tickets to some physical interactions with wild animals instead of banning all wildlife interactions,” said Nick Stewart, Head of Wildlife in Entertainment at WAP, in a statement.

To truly help wild animals, TripAdvisor and its subsidiaries need to take their animal welfare policy a step further by banning and removing the sale of ALL wildlife animal attractions. This would include tickets to attractions such as SeaWorld and Loro Parque, which are still featured on the TripAdvisor website. “If no further changes are made to TripAdvisor’s policy, wild animals will continue to suffer, and they will fall behind while other travel companies take the lead,” said Stewart.

Please help us raise attention about this important issue by sharing this article within your network! And please never buy a ticket to an attraction that uses wild animals for profit. For more information, check out these other One Green Planet articles:

Image Source: Lafesta/Pixabay

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