Charter trip operators to stop selling elephant rides
The three largest charter trip operators in Sweden have agreed to stop selling and advertizing elephant rides and animal shows, which are offered at their vacation destinations, because the animals are often mistreated when being trained.
Elisabeth Tjärnström from the NGO World Animal Protection has been involved with the effort to get Sweden's biggest charter trip companies - Ving, Fritidsresor, and Apollo - to stop selling animal shows and elephant rides.
"They've already either removed elephant riding and other such excursions, or will begin a phase-out," said Tjärnström to Swedish Radio news. "Hopefully there will be a ripple effect for other travel companies."
Animal welfare organizations have long tried to draw attention to problems with the training of animals to entertain tourists. Tjärnström described how elephants used for rides "undergo a process of being broken down systematically." Elephants, she said, are difficult to train with positive reinforcement.
"What you do is to expose them to different kinds of fear and pain so that they are afraid of people," said Tjärnström.