Another Major Travel Site Takes a Stand Against Animal Cruelty

In another major win for animals who are exploited by the tourism industry, Expedia, Inc., has announced that it will be removing certain activities involving animals from its travel sites.

It’s not surprising that wildlife attractions are popular — whether it’s playing with tiger cubs, riding elephants, swimming with dolphins, or taking selfies with bears – but these encounters are causing incredible harm to the individuals involved, and it’s happening on a huge scale.

A report released last year by World Animal Protection concluded that there are an estimated 550,000 animals being used by irresponsible tourist operations around the globe. More concerning still is how wildlife tourism can have an incredibly negative impact on species as a whole, particularly those who are already endangered.

Thankfully, major players in the tourism industry are stepping up to help stop people from unwittingly supporting otherwise cruel and harmful activities. Last year we celebrated a major victory when TripAdviser announced it would stop selling tickets for experiences that allow travelers to come into contact with captive wild animals and endangered species. Then earlier this year, Responsible Travel announced it would stop supporting zoos.

Now, Expedia is joining the growing list of companies that are taking steps to prioritize animals over profits. Over the coming months, the company will be working with organizations including The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Born Free Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International to review and remove activities and attractions from its websites that are deemed harmful.

It will also be launching a Wildlife Tourism Education Portal intended to help educate travelers about animal welfare, so they can make informed decisions about the types of attractions they’re interested in.

“Expedia can play an integral part in educating travelers about the diverse views related to wildlife tourism, so they can make informed decisions that align with how they travel and how they interact with the animals that share our planet,” said Jen O’Twomney, vice president, Expedia Local Expert®. “As travelers, it is important that we know more about the places we go, the activities we engage in, and the ways in which we leave lasting impacts on our destinations. As we help people go places, we want to help them do it thoughtfully, and responsibly.”

Although there are many harmful activities out there, there are also many that do benefit wildlife that we can visit and support, like accredited sanctuaries working to rescue and rehabilitate animals, and to educate visitors.

“Expedia’s decision shows real leadership by one of the travel industry’s most influential players,” said Daniel Turner, associate director of tourism, Born Free Foundation. “Tackling the risks to animals, people and the natural environment while, at the same time, improving the tourism experience, are not mutually exclusive. Born Free welcomes Expedia’s commitment to ensure that, in the future their customers can make informed decisions about the suitability of animal interactions before they finalize their travel plans. We are committed to helping Expedia and the wider travel industry eliminate activities that compromise the welfare of animals and threaten public safety.”

Hopefully as more awareness is raised about the issue, more people will help end the demand for cruel attractions, and instead support those that engender our respect and compassion.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

65 comments

Margie F
Margie FOURIEabout a month ago

Thank you for the good news.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R1 months ago

First good news today. Clever business decision. Good for them!
"Hopefully as more awareness is raised about the issue, more people will help end the demand for cruel attractions, and instead support those that engender our respect and compassion."

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Helene L
Helene L1 months ago

It's great news but, why is it necessary to inform and educate people to what is plain and simple cruelty shown right in front of their eyes just like this poor creature pictured in this article. We all have brains. We all have hearths and souls. Why is it so hard for some to show that they're willing to use them for the good of all innocent animals and the planet?

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Mona M
Mona M1 months ago

Great new, may this become viral. it would be better that people attracted by animals industry and "holidays" business tame their own wild inner animal first. But of course, may be too much work to do inside!

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Mark p
Mark p.muc1 months ago

GREAT!!! The best decision travel agency can do !!!

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Michele B
Michele B1 months ago

BRAVO for taking a stand and sticking to it

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!!

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Ruth C
Ruth C1 months ago

Thank you Expedia for taking that step!

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Janet B
Janet B1 months ago

Thanks

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