Travel web site and interactive forum TripAdvisor has announced that it will no longer allow users to book activities that involve contact with endangered species or captive wild animals. The new policy comes into effect in 2017 and means that TripAdvisor and its tour subsidiary Viator will not sell tickets for activities including elephant rides or petting / handling lion cubs.
The NSPCA fully supports this decision, having spoken out over a considerable period of time appealing to the caring public not to support activities which involve interaction with wild animals in captive situations.
The TripAdvisor decision came after consultation with conservation, animal welfare, academic, trade, and tourism groups but above all, being in line with increasing public sentiment on the issue of animals and entertainment.
The NSPCA has always maintained that there is no educational value in petting lion cubs or having photographs taken whilst holding or beside wild animals. These are exploitive profit-making activities which compromise the welfare of the animals and are pure entertainment.
Emphasising the positive element of this decision, the NSPCA agrees with TripAdvisor that this policy will generate support for responsible and ethical destinations where animals are in their natural environment and can exhibit natural behaviour.
The full statement can be viewed here
The Lion and Safari Park which opened in July 2016 has backtracked on its undertaking to offer only ethical experiences to tourists with no petting of lion cubs. This was retracted in a statement in August when cub petting was re-introduced.
An accolade is extended to ESSENTIALS magazine whose editor Kate Macfarlane advised the NSPCA in July that “I’ve discussed this broader issue with our features and travel writer and we’ve decided to do a blanket ban on animal-related activities in the magazine.”
We call upon all publications to do the same.
We call upon the public to make their voices heard by only supporting ethical destinations and encouraging visitors and tourists to do the same: for the animals’ sake.