Over 100 travel companies commit to end sale of elephant rides and shows

18 March 2016

In order to end the cruel abuse of elephants in the tourist entertainment industry we have secured the help of major tour operators.

Travel companies, including global industry players like The Travel Corporation, TUI Benelux, Thomas Cook Northern Europe and Intrepid Travel Group have signed our Elephant-friendly pledge and agreed to stop selling and promoting venues with elephant rides and shows, in a bid to end the cruel practice.

We have been engaging with tour operators around the world to secure their commitment to not send their customers to venues where they can ride elephants and see shows where these majestic animals are forced to perform.

114 global companies have now agreed to no longer offer visits to venues with elephant rides and shows in any of their markets. Among these are popular brands from across the world, like Contiki, Kuoni Travel UK, Trafalgar and Jetair.

We still need more on board

Despite this large number, there are still travel companies offering elephant rides and performances to tourists. We call upon these businesses to follow the great example of those who have made commitments and offer only elephant-friendly excursion, where customers can experience elephant in a natural environment without having to perform or interact with people.

If you work for a travel company and would like to learn more about becoming elephant-friendly, then please do contact us.

A lifetime of abuse in the tourism industry

In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. This involves physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, they may think the elephants look at peace, but this is because their spirit has been broken. Ongoing use of the bullhook reminds the animal of human dominance.

The cruelty does not end after the crush. When not performing or used for rides most elephants are kept on chains, unable to socially interact with one another. This is hugely damaging to their physical and psychological wellbeing.

The elephants need our commitment

We want to see this cruelty stop – but we also need to think about what happens to the animals already captive at these places, and what the future might hold for them. That’s why we are working hard to find tour operators who are prepared to go the extra mile and invest in transforming existing elephant camps into humane, safe sanctuaries – places where the animals are free to live and behave as naturally as possible, if they can’t be released back into the wild.

Read the full list of global elephant-friendly travel companies to find out who can help you leave animal cruelty out of your holiday plans.

You can help animals from home too: join our movement and tell the world that elephants are wildlife – not entertainers.

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