Trip planning site TripAdvisor instated a new policy that bans ticket sales to attractions that use animals for entertainment through its booking agent Viator. The company will no longer sell tickets to events where travelers come in contact with wildlife in captivity—such as elephant rides, swimming with dolphins, and petting endangered species such as tigers. Animal-rights organizations including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWS) prompted the travel resource company—who reaches 350 million unique visitors per month—to consider the lack of wildlife protections in place in global destinations, in addition to the abuse the animals endure when used for entertainment. “We believe the end result of our efforts will be enabling travelers to make more thoughtful choices about whether to visit an animal attraction, and to write more meaningful reviews about those attractions,” TripAdvisor’s Chief Marketing Officer Barbara Messing says. While TripAdvisor’s new policy does not include a ban on tickets to feeding facilities at zoos, PETA representative Stephanie Shaw says this move sets a precedent for competitors such as Expedia—and, according to the company’s Vice President of Global Communications Sarah Gavin, Expedia is taking notice. “We do think it’s an important issue, and we want to be part of the solution,” Gavin says, “But we need help from the animal welfare community to make it a reality.” Public awareness about the cruelty animals endure in captivity, including zoos and marine parks such as SeaWorld, is on the rise with many governments around the world banning the use of wild animals for entertainment.
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