: One of the best known names in the travel industry is still selling cruel elephant rides to a number of venues that promote animal abuses in Thailand, India and Zimbabwe, despite announcing they have stopped.Earlier this month, the Thomas Cook Group claimed they no longer sold elephant rides and that they would remove all references from their materials, stating they had “stopped offering elephant excursions to our UK and Northern European customers some time ago.”
World Animal Protection has produced evidence to the contrary. Staff from the charity, called a number of Thomas Cook stores in the UK, Europe and Asia and were able to book elephant ride excursions and were even offered personal recommendations of elephant riding, from the travel agent’s staff.
While elephant rides are a popular tourist activity, behind the scenes they cause huge suffering for the animals.
Kate Nustedt, Director of Wildlife at World Animal Protection says:
“We met with Thomas Cook three weeks ago and they assured us that they would stop selling and promoting elephant rides and shows across all their markets within two weeks. Meanwhile, they publicly denied offering them at all. This is another broken promise from Thomas Cook that is resulting in continued cruelty to elephants. We have a dossier of evidence gained over the last three months, right up to this week that proves that the Thomas Cook Group is still selling cruel elephant rides and shows to customers in the UK, Belgium and Thailand.
“The Thomas Cook Group’s Head of CSR has even admitted he was struggling to get buy-in on this issue from the company board.
“This inaction by Thomas Cook has left us with no choice but to call on animal lovers around the world to continue to put pressure on the rest of the company to stop promoting animal cruelty for good across all of their markets.”
World Animal Protection has worked with over 83 travel companies globally to end the promotion of elephant rides and shows, including, most recently The Travel Corporation, which includes Contiki and Trafalgar. As responsible players within the travel industry know, our first approach is always to work with industry partners to end animal cruelty.
Over 140,000 people in 140 countries have signed World Animal Protection’s global call to action to the Thomas Cook Group from selling and promoting elephant rides.