Target: John Constable, CEO, STA Travel
Goal: Applaud the cancellation of trips to cruel and questionable animal attractions
A popular travel firm has moved to cancel planning trips to some animal attractions, due to animal welfare concerns. STA Travel, an agency that creates low-cost trips for students, has announced that it will no longer be booking tours to destinations such as SeaWorld Orlando and Thailand’s Tiger Temple. The company has also cancelled the planning of elephant ride tours. The travel firm received help from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals when creating their plan to move toward responsible tourism.
These decisions targeted attractions and industries with known animal welfare issues. Orlando’s SeaWorld, for example, has been the subject of intense public scrutiny due to the cruelty uncovered by the documentary film Blackfish, which explored the consequences of keeping large marine mammals in captivity. The film follows Tilikum, a distressed and aggressive killer whale involved in the deaths of three individuals during his captivity.
The Tiger Temple in Thailand has also been subject to multiple animal rights complaints. The facility houses fifteen endangered tigers which are kept in small cages, despite the fact that the facility claims to be a wildlife sanctuary. The tigers exhibit symptoms of stress, malnourishment, and ill-temper. Thailand’s elephant ride industry has similar conditions, with wild, endangered animals being captured at a young age and put to work at various tourist attractions around the country. The training process for these elephants often involves beatings, starvation, and sleep deprivation in order to “break the animals’ spirits.”
By refusing to bring business to these cruel attractions, STA Travel has taken a large step toward responsible tourism. This focus on compassionate travel could set a positive example for other tourism firms, as well as create informed travelers by calling attention to the cruelty going on at some major destinations. Your signature will commend STA Travel’s internal inquiries into the treatment of the animals at the destinations it supports.
Dear Mr. John Constable,
STA Travel recently announced that it will be cancelling tours to destinations with poor animal welfare reputations. With the help of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, STA was able to eliminate tours to attractions known for cruel treatment of animals, such as SeaWorld in Orlando as well as Thailand’s Tiger Temple and elephant rides.
The decision not to support attractions known for animal cruelty sends a strong message to the tourism industry and to travelers. I commend your decision, which will set a positive example for other travel firms, and encourage informed traveling among customers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rudolph.A.Furtado via Creative Commons