TripAdivisor, a popular travel and attraction booking website, announced that it will no longer be selling tickets to attractions that have been deemed “cruel to animals”. The company, along with its ticket sales partner, Viator, confirmed this in a statement released on Tuesday, October 11.
Recently, TripAdvisor has come under pressure from World Animal Protection, a London-based animal welfare group, as well as National Geographic. According to the two groups, TripAdvisor continued to promote tourist attractions involving animals, despite other booking agencies’ efforts to eliminate them.
Shows and events in which animals are the main attraction have been shown to psychological and physical trauma to the creatures.
When being trained to carry visitors, for example, elephants go through a “crush,” which often involves being beaten with nail-tipped sticks and immobilized in small cages. Tigers and lions are drugged to make them sedate and safer for tourists to pet and take photos with. Dolphins kept captive for tourists to swim with are unable to hunt, roam, and play as they would in the wild, which raises their level of stress and can result in behavioral abnormalities.
TripAdvisor is taking its new stance on animal welfare a step further as well; along with halting ticket sales to animal attractions, TripAdvisor is reportedly developing an online portal to educate tourists on animal welfare practices and the dangers of animal cruelty.
TripAdvisor’s CEO, Steve McIvor, is proud of his company’s new directive.
“This animal abuse is a hidden by-product of the tourism industry,” McIvor said in an email. “Millions of people look at TripAdvisor every day to guide what they see and do. This is a significant step towards ending the sale of hundreds of cruel wildlife activities, and sends a message to the travel industry and millions of users that wildlife entertainment, such as taking tiger selfies or riding elephants, is not something you should do.”