Four in five Brits want ban on unethical elephant tourism

23rd July 2020

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  • Wildlife & Habitats ,
  • Ethics ,
  • Global


Kathryn Hollard

Four in five UK adults would like a ban on the promotion of unethical elephant tourism, with many travel firms still advertising holidays to venues where the practice takes place.

That is according to polling of over 2,000 adults commissioned by the Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) charity, which found that 79% want a ban on the promotion of unethical elephant tourism, up from 75% in 2018.

Moreover, 86% of respondents want a ban on the Pajan 'training' method, which involves breaking the spirits of baby elephants by tying up and caging them, then starving them and beating them till they give up any resistance.

Separate research carried out by STAE found that 488 tour companies – out of what is believed to be thousands more – are currently selling or promoting holidays to unethical elephant venues (UEVs) in South East Asia.

Various celebrities have now given their support to calls for a ban, including ethologist Dr Jane Goodall, naturalist Chris Packham, comedian Ricky Gervais, Stanley Johnson, Dame Ann Widdecombe, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Harry Potter actress Evanna Lynch, Coronation Street star Bill Roache and actress Maureen Lipman. Politicians and high-profile figures, including former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, and conservationist Ian Redmond, have also backed the ban.

Dr Goodall said: “I wholeheartedly support the millions backing STAE's campaign for long overdue law to end advertising in the UK of the shameful destinations where these abuses happen. It is up to each and every one of us to learn about these practices and to condemn them.“

UEVs are venues where elephants are taken from the wild, beaten and forced to do tricks such as playing football, riding and basketball. All tricks that elephants learn require extreme punishment, including beatings with iron rods and planks, stabbings with bull-hooks, knives and spikes.

Of the 488 companies so far found to be advertising unethical elephant holidays to UK tourists, 114 are members of the ABTA UK travel trade association.

In response, STAE has set up a petition calling for a ban on the advertising of elephant holidays, which has now reached almost one million signatures.

Gervais said: “Such a tragedy – and a needless one. Britain must take a lead and bring new law NOW to help end this horrific abuse to the world's most revered creatures.

“All the travel companies big and small who market this filth should stand in the public dock and pay the price – fines and more for those with the blood of innocent creatures on their hands.“

You can sign the petition here

Image credit: iStock


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