Le Lézard
Classified in: Tourism and vacations, Sports and recreation
Subjects: SVY, PET, ANW

MAJOR TRAVEL COMPANIES RECEIVE FAILING GRADE FOR SELLING EXPLOITATIVE ANIMAL EXPERIENCES ABROAD


Ahead of March Break, World Animal Protection Canada is warning travellers to travel responsibly and get informed about the companies they use

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2023 /CNW/ - World Animal Protection Canada is giving some major travel companies that operate in Canada, a failing grade for their animal welfare policies, as they continue to sell exploitative animal experiences around the world.

The findings are part of the Tracking the Travel Industry report, released today. Commissioned by World Animal Protection and undertaken by the University of Surrey, the report independently analyzed the public commitments travel companies have, and haven't, made.

Companies reviewed include Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Flight Centre, Groupon, Get Your Guide, Klook, The Travel Corporation (TTC), Trip.com, TripAdvisor / Viator, and TUI/Musement.

Companies were scored across four key areas:?? 

World Animal Protection then checked to see if they offered five groups of common exploitative "animal attractions": 

A majority of companies reviewed received failing grades for selling exploitative animal experiences and for not encouraging educational, humane and sustainable experiences instead.

A 2022 Savanta poll found that 84% of Canadians agree that tour operators should avoid activities that cause suffering for wild animals and 62% would not travel with a tour operator if they knew they promoted the use of wild animals in entertainment.

"These companies are not keeping pace with changing attitudes and values over the use of wild animals for entertainment," said Melissa Matlow, World Animal Protection Canada's Campaign Director. "We are asking responsible travellers to join us in urging these travel companies to do better for animals." 

Every year, thousands of animals are captured from the wild or bred in captivity just to entertain tourists. Many are removed from their mothers at?an early age and then subjected to harsh training which can cause physical and psychological harm.?? 

They are then forced into unnatural, human-contrived "show" environments which are incredibly stressful ? though the public are told these attractions have educational or conservation benefits. This could not be further from the truth. 

Travelling responsibly means never including captive wildlife entertainment on your itinerary. Many travel companies claim to offer responsible, sustainable travel, but in reality, continue to profit from wild animal exploitation.

The report acknowledges those companies that have taken positive steps for wildlife over recent years, including Airbnb, Booking.com and The Travel Corporation (TTC), which is headquartered in Canada and owns 40 travel brands, including Trafalgar and Contiki.

"We recognize the immense potential the travel industry has to change the world for the better. We were proud to partner with World Animal Protection to ensure that our policies protect wildlife and help show that animal-friendly venues can be profitable for local communities in the long-term. We hope that this report and campaign encourages other companies to follow suit," said Shannon Guihan, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of TreadRight for The Travel Corporation.

World Animal Protection has been moving the travel industry to stop sales of wildlife entertainment for more than a decade. First focusing on stopping offers for elephant rides and shows, we moved more than 240 travel companies to stop selling elephant rides. In 2016, thanks to our advocacy, TripAdvisor stopped selling tickets to animal attractions where tourists come in physical contact with captive wild animals. In 2019, we expanded our campaign to end the exploitation of dolphins for entertainment resulting in Expedia, Virgin Holidays, Transat, Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing committing to stop selling captive dolphin tourism.

The full report, Tracking the Travel Industry can be found at worldanimalprotection.ca 

SOURCE World Animal Protection


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