Thomas Cook Group have two weeks to protect elephants

Posted on 09 October 2015 by

Kate Nustedt

in the Animals in the wild blog

I’d like to thank all 106,144 people who have signed the World Animal Protection petition calling on Thomas Cook Group to sign our Elephant-friendly Tourism Pledge.

This petition comes after four years of building relationships with different tour operators. What started as a commitment by TUI Netherlands has now resulted in all Dutch operators committing to stop selling elephant rides and shows. 

So far, 82 travel companies across the world have made this commitment and we’re excited to be building a dynamic movement of people and companies committed to protect wild animals.

We’ve met many great crusaders for wildlife working in the travel industry, but unfortunately not in the HQ of Thomas Cook Group. They chose to ignore our calls and emails, and continued selling and promoting cruel and abusive elephant rides and shows, whilst also claiming to “care deeply about animal welfare”. It wasn’t until we launched the petition that Thomas Cook HQ finally called us back.

They certainly took notice of you all because within hours of our petition going live over the weekend Thomas Cook Group put out a statement that said they had “stopped offering elephant excursions…some time ago.”

We knew this wasn’t true because we had plenty of evidence that they were still doing this. They didn’t pull the wool over your eyes either – as many of you let them know on Facebook and Twitter.

I met with a representative from Thomas Cook Group on Tuesday and asked him to clarify their position, not just to me but to all of you. It’s difficult having a conversation with someone who tells you that he doesn’t know how many elephant rides and shows they’re selling, whilst also saying that they aren’t selling them at all. However as part of now fully committing to ending the sale of elephant rides and shows, Thomas Cook Group have promised to remove all references to the activities from their websites in all countries over the next two weeks.

So, let’s see if they do it. If they do, it will be great news for the 3,000 elephants in cruel wildlife entertainment.

Keep the pressure up

It's been incredible to see your passion and support for our movement online. You have been instrumental in getting us this far. All week you have been posting on Thomas Cook Group's Facebook page and holding them to account on Twitter. We need to keep this up over the next two weeks to make sure they keep their promise. 

1) Copy the message below, or write your own message, and post it to Thomas Cook Headquarter’s Facebook page

Elephants used for rides and shows are beaten and chained to make them entertain. You have 2 weeks to stop supporting this suffering – stop selling cruel elephant experiences and sign World Animal Protection’s Elephant-friendly tourism pledge. Elephants are wildlife #NotEntertainers.

2) Copy the tweet below, or write your own tweet, for Thomas Cook Headquarters on Twitter.

You have 2 weeks to end the sale of elephant rides and shows @ThomasCookUK Elephants are wildlife. They are #NotEntertainers

Thanks to you, we’re a big step closer to changing the tourism industry so it becomes wildlife friendly.  There’s lots more steps to go but they just got quicker knowing we’re taking them with you.

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