Travel agents are still promoting tourist attractions that are cruel to animals, according to research by Which? Travel. Many of the big names, including Tui, Trailfinders and Expedia, claim to be hot on the issue of animal welfare, but continue to sell tickets to unethical wildlife facilities.
We found establishments offering elephant rides, alligator wrestling and shows which force tigers to jump through hoops of fire – practices which are discouraged by industry regulator the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta).
In 2013, Abta published its Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, providing members with a set of minimum requirements to phase out bad practice. Last year, Thomas Cook stopped selling tickets to 16 of its animal attractions after commissioning an audit.
It found dolphins with badly damaged skin, chained elephants in distress and other animals forced to spin hoops and play tug of war. Other industry giant, including Trailfinders, Virgin Holidays and Expedia, also vowed to take a tougher stance on animal welfare. But nine out of ten companies we investigated were still selling tickets to facilities where animals are reportedly kept in poor conditions, or are forced to perform for entertainment.
This is an excerpt from an article originally published by Which.