World Animal Protection’s New Report Reveals That Groupon & Trip.com Are Among Travel Companies Continuing To Promote Exploitative Animal “Experiences”

A new report by World Animal Protection U.S. called Tracking the Travel Industry U.S.’ was just released. The report ranks the largest travel companies in the United States on their animal welfare commitments, urging those that continue to profit from exploitative wildlife experiences to adopt a strong animal welfare policy.

Commissioned by World Animal Protection, the University of Surrey independently reviewed and analyzed the public commitments of top travel companies.

Airbnb is among the current leaders in protecting wild animals. The travel company, which previously worked with World Animal Protection to develop its animal welfare policy, received the second-highest overall score of 67%.

Four companies – Groupon, GetYourGuide, Trip.com, and Klook – received scores below 7%. They do not have policies prohibiting working with captive wildlife venues and are severely failing wild animals by selling and promoting harmful and exploitative animal “experiences,” including elephant rides, selfies with tiger cubs, and swimming with dolphins. World Animal Protection urges travelers not to book through these companies.

The assessment scores companies across four key areas:

  1. Commitment: Does the company have a public animal welfare policy against captive wildlife attractions that applies across all brands?

  2. Targets and performance: Does the company have time-bound targets for meeting its animal welfare commitments and report on progress?

  3. Changing industry supply: Does the company work with its suppliers and the industry to implement wildlife-friendly changes?

  4. Changing consumer demand: Does the company provide resources to empower its customers to make wildlife-friendly travel choices?

Additionally, World Animal Protection reviewed the companies’ booking sites to determine whether they offered any of the following four types of “animal attractions”:

  • Elephant rides, feeding, and washing

  • Taking selfies, feeding, petting, and walking with wildlife, including primates and big cats

  • Swimming with dolphins and other sea-life shows

  • The sale of any interactive “experiences” involving wild animals

“Travel companies play a crucial role in influencing traveler’s decisions and changing the supply and demand for captive wildlife experiences. Companies that continue to exploit wild animals for profit, like Groupon, need to do better. Claims to follow responsible business practices are false as the company regularly sells tickets to attractions such as dolphin shows and roadside zoos, misleading the public, and fueling animal cruelty,” Nicole Barrantes, Wildlife Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection, U.S., said in a statement. “Our active public campaign is urging Groupon to protect animals, not exploit them.”

More results:

  • Groupon received one of the lowest overall scores of 4%. World Animal Protection has an active public campaign urging Groupon to stop selling animal cruelty. Company leadership has yet to respond to the campaign.

  • Expedia has made significant progress since the first campaign Tracking the Travel Industry. In November of 2021, following a successful public campaign by World Animal Protection, the company set a new policy prohibiting selling tickets to dolphin and whale performances or interactions. Expedia’s score in this second edition is 64%, the third highest in the report, compared to just 22% in 2020.

  • TripAdvisor and Viator scored low with 44%. While the company removed ticket sales to captive dolphin and whale performances or interactions in 2019, the company has substantial room for improvement, including ending the promotion of attractions such as swimming with dolphins and elephant rides.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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