Bellevue Travel Agency Bans Elephant Rides After PETA Appeal

‘Down Under Answers’ Joins Dozens of Others in Prohibiting Cruel Attractions, Receives Elephant-Shaped Vegan Chocolates in Thanks

For Immediate Release:
September 15, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bellevue, Wash.

After learning from PETA that elephants who are forced to give rides at tourist attractions are often forcibly separated from their mothers, immobilized with tightly bound ropes, and gouged with nails or other sharp objects, Bellevue-based travel agency Down Under Answers—which operates Africa Answers and Asia Answers—made the compassionate and business-savvy decision to remove all elephant rides from its tour itineraries and commit to never offering them in the future.

“Down Under Answers joins dozens of major travel companies in agreeing to reject tourist traps that imprison highly intelligent, social elephants and force them to give rides,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA urges kind tourists to steer clear of all captive-elephant attractions and to use travel agencies that have pledged to do the same.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that roughly half of elephants die during the grueling training, and those who survive spend the rest of their lives in servitude, lugging tourists around or performing tricks under the threat of being beaten with bullhooks (weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a metal hook on one end) or other sharp objects. Elephant attractions are also dangerous to humans. More than a dozen tourists have been killed in the past 15 years by elephants who have lashed out in Thailand, and tuberculosis—a deadly disease that is transmissible from animals to humans—has been documented in captive Asian and African elephants.

The travel agency will receive a box of delicious elephant-shaped vegan chocolates from PETA and joins Alexander+Roberts, Avanti Destinations, Collette, Costco Travel, Tauck, and others in agreeing not to promote exploitative captive-elephant businesses.

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