New Delhi [India], January 25 (ANI/NewsVoir): On the occasion of National Tourism Day as we celebrate our diversity and heritage, World Animal Protection in India urges travel companies and individuals to adapt to responsible travel, free of animal cruelty and suffering.
Travel companies worldwide play a crucial role in changing the demand and supply for captive wildlife experiences. While travel companies have committed towards sustainable choices for tourist experiences - that considers carbon emissions, food waste and energy; there has been no concrete commitment or plans to include animal exploitation considerations or review captive wildlife offers.
In a recent report by World Animal Protection, 84 per cent of people were interviewed in the 2022 global poll who believed that tour operators should not sell activities that cause wild animal suffering. 79 per cent of people polled, said they would prefer to see animals in the wild than in captivity if they had the chance. Tourists put their trust in wildlife entertainment venues associated with major household travel brands. Travel agencies, associations, tour operators and booking platforms promoting and selling wildlife entertainment venues lead tourists to assume such activities are acceptable, or even beneficial for wild animals, when in fact they are inhumane and cause lifelong harm to wildlife.
India is home to the second-highest number of elephants used in tourism out of the countries included in World Animal Protection's elephant tourism assessment in 2020. The assessment found that of 21 tourism venues housing over 500 elephants across India, 44 per cent of the elephants were kept in severely inadequate conditions, 51 per cent, were housed in medium welfare venues and just 4 per cent lived in higher welfare conditions.
"There is a continuing growth in the number of tourists visiting natural and protected areas to see wild animals in their natural habitat which indicates there is already a global shift in demand for wildlife-friendly tourism. Travelling responsibly means never including captive wildlife entertainment on the itinerary and refusing to book a holiday with such offering. We urge individuals; travel and tour operators to not promote wildlife entertainment and support sustainable travel and become more responsible towards wildlife and help stop wild animal exploitation by making a wise responsible choice", said Gajender K Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection India.
68 per cent of respondents from World Animal Protection's global poll said they would not travel with a tour operator or company if they promoted the use of wild animals in entertainment. This indicates that by taking a stance to protect wildlife, companies can enhance their reputation, brand identity, traveller loyalty, and revenue. This also indicates that companies not proactively moving towards wildlife-friendly tourism are potentially losing business and risking their brand.
"Animals are not commodities to be exploited and sold as entertainment. Companies that are choosing to sell captive wild animal entertainment continue to profit from animal suffering. Individual action matters and real responsible travellers have the power to act and create real change for wild animals. Five ways you can help wildlife are by not opting for captive wildlife entrainment, by not choosing tour operators offering wildlife entertainment, saying no to exotic pets, saying no to wildlife products and saying no to wildlife selfies. I urge the tourists in India or coming to India, to say NO to Elephant rides." added Gajender K Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection India.
The Real Responsible Traveller Guide builds on World Animal Protection's 2020 report. commissioned by World Animal Protection and undertaken by the University of Surrey. The Real Responsible Traveller Guide independently analysed the public commitments travel companies have or haven't made. The guide acknowledges companies that have taken positive steps for wildlife over recent years.
Companies were evaluated across four key areas:
1. Commitment: Availability and quality of published animal welfare policies and how applicable they are to all their brands.
2. Targets and performance: Availability and scope of published time-bound targets and reports on progress towards meeting animal welfare commitments.
3. Changing industry supply: Availability and quality of engagement with suppliers and the overall industry, to implement wildlife-friendly changes.
4. Changing consumer demand: Availability and quality of educational animal welfare content and tools to empower consumers to make wildlife-friendly travel choices.
The elephants in Amer Fort are part of the tourism attraction package that subjects these wild animals to live in unnatural conditions and bear a life of suffering. We urge all to join us in this campaign and sign the petition seeking help to break this chain of demand and supply and help to enable relocate and rehabilitate these wild creatures, gifting them a deserving and free life devoid of silent suffering. #NoPrideInElephantRide
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