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TripSavvy, a popular travel-planning website, gives travelers misleading and incomplete information about elephant attractions, including rides at India's Amber Fort, where elephants—many of them injured, ill, and elderly—are forced to haul tourists up a long, winding, uphill path all day long in excessive heat. While TripSavvy does mention that some tourists are choosing not to ride elephants there, it then goes on to list the ride times and price and recommends arriving "as early as possible to get one, as demand is high." It also provides information about illegitimate "sanctuaries " that allow elephant rides, which no reputable sanctuary in the world does.
A recent report found that every single elephant at Amber Fort suffers from various foot problems—which are painful and a leading cause of euthanasia for captive elephants. The report also found that many of the elephants are blind, which endangers both them and the public, and dozens displayed stereotypical behavior patterns, such as repetitive swaying and head-bobbing, indicating mental distress. And all elephants who are used for rides first endure abusive training to "break" their spirits, followed by routine beatings and psychological torment.
Public opposition to the use of animals for entertainment is stronger than ever, and dozens of travel businesses have taken action to help animals. Travel-guide company Lonely Planet, for example, explains that "elephants are traditionally subject to systematic abuse in order to 'train' them to accept riders and perform in shows." And Intrepid Travel cofounder Geoff Manchester authored the article "This Is Why We No Longer Ride Elephants."
By failing to inform tourists of the truth behind elephant rides, TripSavvy is helping to drive demand for an egregiously cruel industry that uses violence and domination to force elephants into subservience. Urge the company to live up to its name by providing accurate information about the problems and suffering behind exploiting animals, including elephants, for tourism.