Back in October of 2016, Trip Advisor CEO Stephen Kaufer announced the popular travel website would no longer be selling tickets to abusive and exploitative animal attractions such as elephant trekking camps, among many others. This announcement was made in response to an intensive year long campaign pressuring the travel company to reverse their policies against considerations of animal welfare in favor of profit when promoting travel destinations.
While we applaud Trip Advisor's decision, the travel company continues to promote these same attractions on their website, even awarding the most atrocious animal welfare offenders official badges of recommendation to proudly display on their website.
Trip Advisor's policy on awarding recommendations says they are awarded to businesses who receive a high number of positive reviews posted on Trip Advisor's website. Despite no longer selling tickets to these attractions, they've left them up so tourists could continue to review them.
Ironically in an article written in NatGeo where Kaufner was interviewed regarding the announcement of Trip Advisor's policy change, it was recognized tourists are not good at determining whether an animal attraction was cruel and tend to rate even blatantly abusive ones positively.
And perhaps that's exactly why they've allowed them to remain. Trip Advisor stood to loose millions of dollars in listing fees from companies they're no longer be able to do business with. Hmmmm or could they? If Trip Advisor isn't making money from these businesses, why are they awarding them with badges of recommendation? Why are they offering them free advertisement by keeping these attractions up on their website to be reviewed? Because they're nice?
Their 'education portal' said to be implemented 'early 2017' has yet to be developed and by all appearances, there is strong evidence to suggest Trip Advisor continues to profit off of animal cruelty.
Elephant trekking camps promote and profit off the unspeakable torture of baby elephants in order to break their spirits and provide rides to tourists at tourist attractions. Baby elephants are pulled from their mothers and each of their feet. They are beaten bloody by several men who use hot irons, bullhoos several inches long, shovels. Nails are pounded into their sensitive skin. Elephants will often step on their trunks to kill themselves and infanticide is common. Mothers will kill their babies so they don't have to go through it.
Both TripAdvisor and Lonley Planet endorse and feature some of the most abusive trekking camps in the world. The scars covering the elephants heads and bodies tell the heartbreaking tale of the elephants lives. Of those subject to phajaan, 50% die. Of those who survive half of them will go mad.
Demand these travel organizations strip these abusive trekking camps of all recommendations and endorsements. This is something that literally keeps me up at night and we can't let this continue. The only way is to let everyone know not to ever ride an elephant at a tourist attraction.
*Note, sometimes you can't be sure that these petitions will ever be sent off to the target, but you can count on me. Last year, using the petition I posted on Care2, I successfully urged Bravo TV Network to pull the series 'Tour Group' to edit out scenes featuring the cast participating in elephant trekking before they could be aired. I will take this as far as I need to make sure none of these camps are able to continue to sustain their business. Other companies will undoubtedly be added as targets to the petition. Thank you for taking the time to Care2.
Follow me on twitter to get updates about this petition and other issues impacting elephants. https://twitter.com/occupy4eles