Saturday, 26 March 2016

Travel companies back end to elephant abuse

A CAMPAIGN by international animal charity World Animal Protection (WAP) to end the abuse of elephants in the tourism industry has secured the help of more than 100 travel companies. 

In total, 114 global companies have agreed with WAP that elephant rides and shows are cruel and should end. The travel companies, include TUI Benelux, Thomas Cook Northern Europe, and Intrepid Travel Group.

‘Leading travel brands see the value of animal protection,’ says executive director at WAP Canada, Josey Kitson. ‘Many of the companies we've engaged with in Canada such as G Adventures, The Travel Corporation, and World Expeditions, as well as those globally, including Intrepid Travel, have welcomed the opportunity to stand with us to protect wildlife.’

Despite this large number, there are still travel companies yet to commit to ending elephant rides and other cruel elephant entertainment. In order to make elephants submit to rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers as babies and forced through a training practice known as 'the crush'. This process involves physical restraints, severe pain, and the withholding of food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, its spirit has been broken.

When not performing or used for rides, most elephants are kept chained and isolated from each other.

‘World Animal Protection wants to see this cruelty stop,’ Ms Kitson adds, ‘and tourists can help by avoiding animal attractions while on vacation and encouraging more companies to join our movement.’

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