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Online travel-booking giant The Priceline Group allows bookings for exploitative elephant camps through both Priceline.com and Booking.com, even after dozens of travel companies around the world have turned their backs on facilities that use elephants for entertainment. Elephants who are used for rides and other interactions endure lives in which they're controlled under the constant threat of violence and routinely kept chained.
Those who are used for rides are trained as babies in a process commonly called phajaan, or "the crush." During this process, still-nursing baby elephants are torn away from their mothers, kicking and screaming. They're lassoed and bound with ropes, immobilized in wooden boxes, beaten mercilessly, and gouged with bullhooks, nail-studded sticks, or other weapons—sometimes for days on end. These ritualized "training" sessions leave the elephants badly injured and traumatized, and it's been reported that up to half of the baby elephants who are subjected to this abuse don't survive the process. Those who do are forced to spend their lives in servitude, under the constant threat of punishment. They're routinely beaten and often worked to the point of exhaustion, sometimes even to the point of death.
Public opposition to the use of animals for entertainment is stronger than it's ever been, and dozens of businesses in the travel and hospitality industries—including TripAdvisor—have stopped selling elephant rides and pledged not to associate with camps that exploit elephants. Last year, Expedia also announced that activities involving certain wild-animal interactions would no longer be bookable through its sites.
Continuing to allow exploitative camps to be listed on Booking.com and Priceline.com helps drive demand for an egregiously cruel industry that uses violence and domination to force elephants into subservience. Please urge The Priceline Group to catch up to its competitors and stop booking visits to camps that exploit elephants.