Mayflower Tours Ends Elephant Encounters After PETA Appeal

Group Sends Travel Agency Box of Elephant-Shaped Vegan Chocolates in Thanks

For Immediate Release:
March 23, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Downers Grove, Ill. – Following an appeal from PETA, Downers Grove–based travel company Mayflower Tours has confirmed that it will no longer promote or sell activities involving captive elephants. To thank the company for its compassionate decision, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has sent the agency a box of elephant-shaped vegan chocolates.

“Mayflower Tours made the right call by cutting ties with businesses that beat and threaten elephants into performing tricks and giving rides to tourists,” says PETA Foundation Captive Animal Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. “PETA urges tourists traveling to Thailand or anywhere else with elephant attractions to refuse to support this cruelty—and to stick to travel companies that have done the same.”

In Southeast Asia, where elephant tourist attractions are common, trainers often forcibly separate young elephants from their mothers, bind the young animals so tightly with ropes that they cannot move, beat them, and gouge them with nails in a process known as phajaan, which is meant to break their spirits. Elephants who survive the process spend the rest of their lives in servitude, lugging tourists around and being jabbed and struck with bullhooks—weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp metal hook on one end.

Elephants can snap after a lifetime of stress and deprivation—in Thailand alone, captive elephants have caused about a dozen tourist deaths in the past 15 years. These inhumane attractions also present health risks: Tuberculosis, one of the deadliest diseases in the world, is transmissible from elephants to humans and has been documented in elephants throughout Asia.

Mayflower Tours joins Butterfield & Robinson, Collette, STA Travel, Intrepid Travel, and others in pledging not to promote captive-elephant businesses.

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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