NEEDHAM, Mass., 25 April 2018 – TripAdvisor, and its subsidiary Viator, has today announced a number of additions to its policy on selling tickets to animal attractions, effective immediately.
The changes are designed to better account for the varied ways in which tourist interactions can impact wild and endangered animals around the world, and add further clarify to the policy that was first introduced in October 2016.
As a result of these changes, TripAdvisor and its subsidiary Viator will no longer sell tickets to specific experiences where captive wild or endangered animals are forced to perform demeaning tricks or other unnatural behaviors in front of the general public, or where they are featured as part of a live circus or stage entertainment act in a demeaning manner.
There are also changes to the policy as it applies to animals in captive environments. Some physical interactions with wild animals will now be eligible for sale on TripAdvisor and Viator, subject to certain conditions. Most notably, any feeding or touching program that is conducted under the supervision of trained officials, where any physical contact between the animals and the guests is initiated by the animals themselves and the animals have the freedom to disengage from that contact at their own will. Similarly, invertebrate touch-and-feel experiences that are used for education purposes, such as spider encounters designed to help treat arachnophobia, will also be eligible for sale.
“The changes we’ve announced today reflect our ongoing commitment to help drive positive change within the tourism industry. Tourist activities have a huge impact on wild animals around the world, and while that impact can often be positive, such as helping to fund important conservation efforts, it can be negative too,” explained Sally Davey, Head of Industry Relations. “We hope that, by making it clearer which kinds of experiences we are willing to sell on TripAdvisor and which we are not, we can push suppliers to adopt better animal welfare practices in the experiences they offer.”
TripAdvisor/Viator Animal Welfare Policy – In Full
TripAdvisor and its subsidiaries will not sell tickets to any attraction that is found to be in breach of the TripAdvisor listing policy as it relates to animal welfare. This policy stipulates that TripAdvisor does not list attractions where the primary purpose of the business includes the harming or killing of endangered species or captive animals, or where feeding demonstrations are conducted that involve live animals being fed to other animals for entertainment purposes (e.g. feeding live cows to lions).
In addition, TripAdvisor and its subsidiaries will not sell tickets to, or generate booking revenue from, specific experiences where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species, with the following exceptions:
- Domestic animals, e.g. horseback riding, children's petting zoos with domestic animals like rabbits, etc.
- Aquarium touch pools used for education purposes in a captive environment, where tourists are under the supervision of zoo, aquarium and or wildlife officials
- Invertebrate touch and feel experiences (such as spider/insect experiences) used for education purposes in a captive environment, where tourists are under the supervision of zoo, aquarium and or wildlife officials
- Any feeding or touching program in a captive environment, conducted under the supervision of zoo and or wildlife officials, where physical interaction is initiated by the animals themselves as a natural behaviour (i.e. the animals are not drugged, baited or intimidated into compliance) and where those animals can disengage from contact at will
- Voluntourism programs for endangered species preservation at zoos, aquariums or sanctuaries where it is possible that there might be some level of physical interaction with an animal
- Chartered sea, lake or river fishing tours that comply with international and local laws and regulations
Furthermore, TripAdvisor will not sell tickets to, or generate booking revenue from, specific experiences where captive wild or endangered animals are forced to perform demeaning tricks or other unnatural behaviours in front of the general public, or where they are featured as part of a live circus or stage entertainment act in a demeaning manner (including imitating humans, such as dressing up in costume). Demeaning acts are defined as those where an animal may be either drugged or forcibly trained to behave or comply in an unnatural way, and which do not provide either necessary stimulation, exercise or veterinary care to that animal.