Booking.com Drops SeaWorld Ticket Sales, Elephant Rides After PETA Appeal

Travel Company Also Bans Hands-On Wild-Animal Encounters, Wild-Animal Circuses, and More

For Immediate Release:
October 9, 2019

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norwalk, Conn. – After hearing from PETA and more than 300,000 of its supporters, Booking.com has released sweeping new animal welfare standards, which include a policy against selling tickets to SeaWorld or other aquariums or abusement parks that feature captive whales and dolphins or to circuses that use elephants, bears, big cats, and primates. The promotion of elephant rides and many other activities involving direct contact with certain wild animals is also prohibited.

“Booking.com is helping to wipe out abusive animal attractions and bolster humane tourism in one fell swoop,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging people to do their homework and use only ethical travel companies that refuse to promote captive-animal displays.”

In nature, orcas and bottlenose dolphins can swim up to 140 miles and 60 miles per day, respectively; dive to depths well over 1,000 feet below the ocean’s surface; and maintain dynamic relationships within large social networks. At SeaWorld, 140 dolphins are squeezed into just seven small tanks and can’t escape attacks from other frustrated, aggressive dolphins. A recent expert report revealed that many dolphins at SeaWorld have open wounds and extensive scarring—yet trainers still ride on their backs and stand on their faces during sea circus performances. PETA has documented chronic animal welfare violations, neglect, and premature deaths at SeaWorld, Loro Parque, and numerous other operations now affected by this policy.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also notes 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 nail-studded sticks or other sharp objects. Circuses tear baby animals away from their mothers, lock animals in cages and chains, and ship them from city to city in cramped, often filthy trailers, denying them any semblance of a natural life.

Booking.com—which will receive a box of delicious elephant-shaped vegan chocolates in thanks from PETA—is part of a growing list of companies that have enacted pro-animal policies, including TripAdvisor, which recently stopped selling tickets to facilities with captive cetaceans; British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United airlines, all of which ended SeaWorld promotions; and Airbnb, which just banned hands-on encounters with wild animals.

PETA 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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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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