Airbnb Donates $100,000 to End Exploitative Wildlife Tourism

Company Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is After Issuing New Policy Prohibiting Tiger Selfies, Elephant Camps, and 'Swim With Dolphins' Parks

For Immediate Release:
October 8, 2019

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

San Francisco – Baby parrots and monkeys are taken away from their mothers for photo ops, dolphins and orcas are kept in concrete cells and made to perform for their supper, and elephants are snatched from their mothers so that they can be trained through force to give rides to tourists. Now, after working with PETA, Airbnb has not only unveiled a new, more robust animal welfare policy in its Animal Experiences bookings category but also donated $100,000 to PETA’s campaigns to help shut down exploitative wildlife tourism. Following talks with PETA, the company’s new Animal Experiences section excludes all activities involving direct contact with wild animals, including elephant rides, tiger photo ops, and “swim with dolphins” programs as well as visits to SeaWorld and other marine mammal abusement parks.

“Airbnb is committed to promoting responsible animal tourism, and this support is provided in recognition of PETA’s ongoing work to protect animal welfare and all of PETA’s innovative and effective programs to advance empathy and end animal suffering,” says Airbnb Experiences Policy Director Natalia Merluzzi.

“Airbnb is showing tourists how to avoid abusive wild-animal attractions and forge an animal-friendly travel future,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA looks forward to putting Airbnb’s generous donation to good use and is calling on others in the hospitality industry to follow the company’s lead in promoting humane tourism.”

Baby elephants, even those who end up in most “orphanages,” are often forcibly separated from their mothers, bound with ropes or chains, and gouged with nails or other sharp objects to make them obey commands. Big cats used for photo ops have been found to be heavily sedated, chained down, and hit with sticks if they “misbehave.” Tigers at some tourism facilities are constantly caged when not being forced to have their photos taken with paying tourists. At SeaWorld, 140 dolphins are squeezed into just seven small tanks, never able to smell, see, or enjoy the ocean and denied everything that’s natural and important to them. A recent expert report revealed that many dolphins at SeaWorld have open wounds and extensive scarring—yet trainers still stand on their faces and ride on them during sea circus performances.

PETA’s motto is “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way,” and the group opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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Media Response Team.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind