Some fantastic news, last week, from TripAdvisor:
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced its commitment to launch a set of industry-leading actions, including changes to its policy on selling tickets to animal attractions, and the launch of a new education portal to help inform travelers about the standards of care for wild, captive, and endangered species in tourism and their interactions with tourists, and their impact on wildlife conservation.
TripAdvisor and its Viator brand will discontinue selling tickets for specific tourism experiences where travelers come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species, including but not limited to elephant rides, petting tigers, and swim with dolphin attractions.
While some attractions will cease booking through TripAdvisor immediately, the company plans to have both the educational portal and booking policy changes fully-launched and implemented by early 2017.
TripAdvisor is also committing to the development and launch of an education portal linked to every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor. The portal will provide links and information on animal welfare practices, helping travelers to write more informed reviews about their experience, and to be aware of opinions that exist on the conservation implications and benefits of some tourism attractions. In turn, TripAdvisor believes that better reviews will enable travelers to make more informed booking decisions and improve the standards of animal care in tourism worldwide….
This is truly wonderful news for at least three reasons:
1) Some of the cruel and callous “attractions” will probably go out of business. (Including, hopefully, the scammy Thai “tiger monastery.” ) This, in turn, will lead to…
2) Less animal trafficking, with all its attendant unspeakable ills (brutal kidnappings, families broken up, collateral deaths during shipping, etc.).
And last but definitely not least:
3) It’s a huge step in the ongoing mainstreaming of animal welfare concerns.
I use TripAdvisor a lot to plan our trips, but in the past have always done the actual booking on the hotel and attraction sites. From now on, I’ll book right on the TripAdvisor site so they get their commission, and if this news delights you as much as it delights me, I urge you to do the same.
Related: Katherine Applegate’s Newbery Medal-winning young adult novel The One and Only Ivan is a sensitive and compassionate fictionalization of the story of Ivan, a gorilla who was kept in the cage in a mall for nearly 30 years. It’s a bit early to think of holiday gift giving, but this would be a great one for any animal-loving kid or adult on your list.
This is good news. Shared with my own fans.
@WereBear: :-) Big kitties, little kitties – we love them all!
From Moolissa’s lips to Trip Advisor’s ears.
I once went to that mall, in Tacoma, where Ivan was. I don’t remember if I saw him, but it was a weird mall.
@ThresherK: Well *that* was a doorway into…something. :-)
@Wapiti: Did you see other animals?
Applegate really does a great job with the human characters, too, including the owner. He does cruel things (no spoilers) but is not portrayed as a monster.
@Hillary Rettig: C’mon, I can’t be the only Bob’s Burgers fan here.
I don’t know of any other comedy which has had a piece about animal exploitation and mistreatment in such a deft manner: A would-be Michael Moore brings a cow, for a publicity stunt, next to a burger restaurant. The cow is left tied up overnight on a sidewalk in the rain by this fellow. Then it’s kidnapped by a couple who run a low-rent petting zoo. And the characters are a lot more fully rendered than in, say, South Park.
@Hillary Rettig: It was in 1986 or 87, I saw the cages, so there were animals, and I remember the circus theme, which was the odd/notable thing I remember. iirc, it was an old-school mall with various concessions in it, a keycutter maybe, shoe repair, that kind of thing. I needed a passport photo, and don’t like to shop, so I was there to get my picture taken at the photo shop and get out.
eta: I see the mall closed in ~1994, so it might have already been on its last legs when I was there.
@Wapiti: interesting to get a first-hand perspective – if you haven’t yet read the book I think you’d find it interesting.
Gertrude the Duck
@ThresherK: The Simpsons has two vegetarian characters (Lisa Simpson and Apu) and has done episodes about the issue. I haven’t watched the show in at least a decade, so no idea what is going on now.
Now how will the Trump children book their vacations?
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Steve King, defender of puppy mills, is a Republican. We vote for helping our non-human friends, too.
@Baud: I am sure that there are plenty of people who will take some trump coin to book the sons on a “how many animals can we kill” vacation/safari.
@srv: I’m impressed by your ability to troll multiple topics. I appreciate people who put some effort into their art.
@Baud: another zing! for you!
@WereBear: Republicans in many states suck on animal issues. Like Missouri: https://ballotpedia.org/Missouri_Dog_Breeding_Regulation,_Proposition_B_(2010)
And Christie famously vetoed anti-gestation-crate (for pigs) legislation as a suck up to agribusiness prior to running for pres. Fat lot of good it did him…
Fortunately the tide is turning, and the more concerned with animal welfare/rights the populace gets – and there’s a lot of pro-animal sentiment among Republican voters, too – the better we are able to hang their agribusiness pandering like a millstone around the Repubs’ necks.
Looked in once, but the show did nothing for me. However, the episode you describe sounds interesting.
@srv: This is fascinating and makes total sense given the increasing restrictions on the ivory trade. It’s too bad, because the mammoths (and science) deserve better than being made into trinkets. And like fake fur, it is better than the “real” alternative, but it also perpetuates the desire for the alternative.
“Who will protect the dead?” is a great line, btw.
Someone went and killed Pedals the Bear. Remember the bear that walked on two legs like a human, possibly because of a front paw injury?
“The One and Only Ivan” is a wonderful read.
I work at the public library, children’s dept. When we first got “The One and Only Ivan” we passed it around immediately. It’s a great book, so popular it’s almost never on the shelf–it stays checked out! Very doable read, too, if you have reluctant readers.
When Ivan came to ZooAtlanta, he was afraid of grass, which is just heartbreaking. The Zoo’s newsletter used to provide updates on his adjustment to a much more natural environment, and while he eventually was able to enjoy being outside in the sun on a grassy hill, he never showed interest in mating, so there are no heirs like there are with their other famous silverback, WillieB.