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The amount of life that suffers at the hands of humans is something many of us might choose to ignore. First-hand observation of and interaction with wild animals, for instance, attracts tourists to exotic locations all over the world. People pay for the chance to pet, ride, and take pictures with animals at zoos, animal parks, and more.

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According to the World Animal Protectionabout 550,00 wild animals suffer from irresponsible tourist attractions around the world, while 110 million people go to these attractions each year, unaware the animals are being mistreated.

Now, TripAdvisor Inc. and its Viator brand have made a major breakthrough in the acknowledgement of wildlife mistreatment by recently deciding to stop selling tickets for attractions where physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species occurs, like elephant rides, petting tigers, and swimming with dolphins.

They are also preparing to launch a wildlife tourism education portal in which the company will team up with organizations and people like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, conversation organizations, academics, and animal welfare groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Booking for some attractions will end immediately, but the new policy is anticipated to go into full effect by the beginning of 2017. The decision “is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” explained TripAdvisor Chief Executive Stephen Kaufer. “At the same time, we want to celebrate those destinations and attractions that are leaders in caring for animals and those in the tourism industry who help further the cause of animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of endangered species.”

TripAdvisor made the final decision following months of discussions and productive meetings with PETA. Hundreds of millions of travellers take advantage of TripAdvisor for advice and recommendations, making the changes in their policy both groundbreaking and commendable.

“PETA commends TripAdvisor on this move, and travel agencies that don’t want to alienate ethical travelers should follow the company’s example and stop promoting cruel animal displays,” a statement on their website reads.

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If you ever want to visit an animal attraction, it’s important to do your research first. Here’s a glimpse at some of the inhumanity behind some of the world’s favourite animal attractions:

1. Snake Charming

Often the snakes’ mouths are sewn or glued shut for snake charming. This allows for their tongues to still flicker outside but prevents them from eating.

2. Lion Parks

When a cub grows past its cute stage, it is typically raised, trained, and broken to take part in lion walks. They may even be sold into the canned hunting industry or to breeding camps to keep the cycle going.

3. Pictures With Captive Wild Animals

To get pictures, larger animals are often drugged, while smaller animals are typically kept on a constant short leash and physically abused.

4. Dolphin Shows and Swimming Sessions

Most of the dolphins in a show, as well as the ones you sign up to swim with, are captured from the ocean or bred for the purpose to simply entertain humans. They are put through physically-demanding training to learn how to jump, scoot, juggle, and swim when commanded.

5. Riding Elephants

Elephants need to be trained to follow commands and be willing to accept riders, and in order to do this, they go through a “breaking” process, which usually involves short chains and uncomfortably tight spaces. Elephants are even taken from their mothers as infants.

6. Tiger Temples

To get a photo with a tiger typically requires them to be sedated, while they are kept on short leashes or chains that prevent their escape. The tiny tigers are often overstimulated and put in fear by excited tourists trying to feed, hold, and play with them. Temple tigers are kept in concrete cells or small cages as their “homes.”


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