Closed petition Ban adverts for and sale of Asian elephant tours that do not meet set standards
Many endangered Asian elephants suffer from brutal tourism, much of it from the UK. Current guidance and promises by the tourism industry are insufficient, and the Government must legislate to ban adverts for and sale of Asian elephant tours that do not meet a set standard.
Elephants as “megagardeners of the forest” are key to biodiversity, nourish land, store carbon, and protect from climate change. Yet 40% of tourists to some countries plan elephant rides. In Thailand captive elephants, which can transmit TB, gave 13 million rides in 2016.
Operators advertise and sell Asian elephant tours with no legal constraints. 90% of people surveyed say using elephants in tourism is unjustified. Petitions to end their cruel treatment have received millions of signatures.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 6 October 2020
The Government takes the welfare of all animals seriously and is committed to raising standards of animal welfare both at home and abroad.
The Government welcomes this important petition which highlights the cruelty that many elephants face when used to provide tourist experiences. Anyone who has seen videos of elephants undergoing harsh and painful training will be rightly appalled by the treatment that they suffer.
The Government takes the welfare of all animals seriously and is committed to raising standards of animal welfare both at home and abroad. The Government has made wide ranging commitments on animal welfare and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals as we leave the EU. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity.
In December, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) published revised guidance for their members which recommends that they should not promote or sell holidays that include elephant experiences. We reiterate our previous calls to British travel agents to cut ties with any company that sells experiences that are harmful towards elephants and urge tourists to visit high-welfare attractions whilst holidaying. Should anyone visit an attraction where they suspect mistreatment of animals, we would strongly encourage them to report their concerns to their travel agent when they return home.
The Government is considering the potential of legislation to prohibit adverts of cruel animal entertainments overseas.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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