TripAdvisor Ends Sale of Cruel Wildlife Tourist Attractions After NFP Campaign
17 October 2016 at 4:48 pm
Global travel website TripAdvisor will stop selling tickets to some of the cruelest wildlife activities, following a World Animal Protection petition of more than half a million signatures.
Around 70,000 Australians also supported the Wildlife – Not Entertainers campaign, which called on the corporation to stop profiting from animal cruelty.
World Animal Protection head of Australian campaigns Nicola Beynon said TripAdvisor’s announcement, following the six-month petition, was “very significant”.
“They are the world’s largest travel site and they get a phenomenal amount of traffic on their websites every day,” Beynon told Pro Bono Australia News.
“To have TripAdvisor’s help steering tourists away from cruel wildlife attractions instead of steering them towards wildlife cruelty is really, really important.”
TripAdvisor will now work directly with World Animal Protection, as well as other animal, conservation and tourism industry experts, to create an education portal on their site.
“We asked them to stop selling cruel wildlife attractions and we asked them to provide education to their web visitors,” Beynon said.
“We ran the petition globally, so it ran in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, all through Europe, all through North and South America… asking for TripAdvisor to get on board with the campaign.
“We’re really pleased that… they’ve made the announcement that they will stop selling cruel attractions that involve tourists interacting with wildlife – so elephant rides, tiger petting venues, swimming with dolphin attractions.
“And then for other attractions that involve wildlife, they will provide education.
“Every venue that involves wildlife they said would have a symbol on it, suggesting it would be a paw, and people would tap on the paw and they would go through to a portal that would provide information about animal cruelty and about conservation issues, about all the problems that are involved with wildlife entertainment, so that their customers can make informed decisions about whether they’re actually venues that they do want to visit, or they might actually say ‘no we’ll give that a miss, it’s too cruel’.”
World Animal Protection said the portal would educate millions of tourists about the cruelties wild animals face for tourism entertainment.
According to an independent poll commissioned by the charity, 85 per cent of people agreed that wild animals belong in the wild and three quarters said it was wrong for people to make an income from using wild animals for entertainment if the animals suffer.
Beynon said the campaign showed that people power had the ability to force big corporations to change their social and environmental practices.
“This campaign has shown that petitions do work, it was a global petition, it had a lot of supporters signing onto it… and that has moved TripAdvisor,” she said.
“It shows people power can move big global corporates, which I think is really encouraging for all of us to know that in signing a petition, in taking an action we can join global movements that can bring about real change.”
Beynon also said it was important for community organisations to work with corporates.
“The big corporations like TripAdvisor have the power to influence the most change, TripAdvisor has so many web visitors on their websites every month, so if you can get TripAdvisor to help steer people away from animal cruelty, that’s really powerful,” she said.
“We work with a lot of other companies, we’ve had over 100 travel companies sign our pledge to be elephant friendly and no longer sell elephant rides and shows, and we also are working with venues.
“But to have the big players like TripAdvisor come on board can be a game changer.”
Despite the announcement, certain venues that involve cruel entertainment attractions will still be bookable via TripAdvisor or its Viator brand.
According to World Animal Protection, the corporation said they would end the sale of specific experiences where tourist have direct physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.
“We hope it will only be a matter of time before TripAdvisor will also come to realise that it has to end sales to all cruel wildlife attractions such as SeaWorld where the animals endure a lifetime of abuse and highly stressful training to perform,” Beynon said.
“Until then we will provide the best education we can on TripAdvisor’s website to steer people away from cruel venues like these.”