Punjab News Express/Y.S.Rana
CHANDIGARH: British travel company Thomas Cook announced that they would stop selling tickets to some of the world’s cruellest wildlife activities, protecting hundreds of dolphins, elephants and other animals from cruel entertainment for tourists.
The decision came a year after World Animal Protection (WAP) first called upon the Thomas Cook Group to stop selling cruel elephant rides to venues that promote animal abuses in Thailand, India and Zimbabwe, with a petition signed by over 174,000 supporters.
The venues include 11 that involved dolphins, including Sealanya in Turkey and Ocean World in the Dominican Republic, which has Japanese dolphins subjected to invasive interactions. Six other captive animal venues include the Baan Chang Elephant Park in Thailand, Asia Safari and Elephant Village in Khao Lak.
Gajender K Sharma, India Country Director, at World Animal Protection said: “The tide is turning as more and more companies stop selling tickets to cruel wildlife venues. Thomas Cook’s decision is fantastic news for the animals that have suffered and a clear sign to the industry that wildlife used as entertainment is unacceptable.
“We’d like to see more travel operators take up the mantle and show the same degree of responsibility to protecting animals. Tourists that visit these venues are unaware of the cruelty and abuse that these animals endure in the name of entertainment and the travel industry has a key role in changing this.”
Wild animals suffer welfare abuses in cruel wildlife tourist attractions. Elephants are taken from their mothers when young, then isolated, starved and beaten until their spirits are broken and they are submissive enough to give rides and perform in shows.
To bring an end to this cruelty, World Animal Protection works with tour operators around the world to stop sending customers to cruel wildlife entertainment venues. Following the NGO’s campaign, 166 travel companies across the world, including TripAdvisor, Contiki, Kuoni Travel UK and Jetair have committed to no longer offer visits to venues with elephant rides and shows in any of their markets.
Despite this still large number, there are several travel companies who are yet to commit to ending elephant rides and other cruel elephant entertainment, such as Virgin, Audley Travel, Trailfinders and The Ultimate Travel Company in the UK.