Sydney – After learning from PETA France how animals used in tourist attractions suffer physically and psychologically, French travel provider Club Med has just released a new animal welfare guide detailing plans to stop promoting elephant rides, captive whale and dolphin exhibits, bullfights, and photo ops with animals. Taking effect in August, the policies also include a fur ban in the company’s boutiques and recommendations for spay/neuter surgeries in countries with large homeless animal populations. Advice is also included on deterring – rather than killing – mosquitos, showing consideration for even the smallest of animals with whom we share the planet.
“Unlike Club Med’s happy travellers, animals used for entertainment never get a chance to relax or share special moments with their loved ones,” says PETA Campaigns Adviser Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA urges other travel companies to follow Club Med’s lead and begin their own journeys into the world of animal protection by cutting support for SeaWorld and other cruel exhibitors.”
In nature, highly intelligent and social dolphins swim long distances, form complex relationships, and choose their own mates. But those held captive at parks like Sea World are confined to cramped, chemically treated tanks and deprived of opportunities to display natural behaviour or do anything important to them. Many suffer from stress-related ailments and even die prematurely.
In major tourist destinations such as India and Thailand, handlers steal baby elephants from their mothers and then tie them down and beat them so severely that the babies bleed and scream. Abusers break elephants’ spirits in order to force them to perform ridiculous tricks, give rides to tourists, or allow humans to interact with them.
Club Med joins a long list of companies – including Airbnb, Virgin Holidays, British Airways Holidays, Booking.com, United Airlines, and Tripadvisor – that have stopped promoting dolphin shows as well as the more than 50 travel companies that have pulled elephant rides.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.au or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.