The travel company Klook has announced that it will stop promoting circuses that use wild animals, as well as several similar businesses, but it has fallen short of going as far as it could go as it will continue to support other establishments that exploit animals (such as zoos, public aquaria, and touristic elephant experiences).
The Hong Kong-based travel company created a new animal welfare policy that says “Klook will not promote or support the exploitation of wild animals or any activity that will cause unnecessary harm or distress to the animals.” The document outlines a commitment to not sell trips to places that incorporate “performances” from wild animals like tigers, elephants, whales, and dolphins. “Tiger temples,” trophy hunting, and other blood sports also come under the new guidelines, as well as experiences involving the consumption or sale of wild animals.
Nicole Barrantes, Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection in the US, said in a statement, “We applaud Klook’s new animal welfare policy for taking a meaningful first step in helping to end wildlife cruelty and exploitation in the tourism industry. However, Klook must go further. It must remove all wildlife attractions, including its elephant bathing and feeding offerings, which still involve significant cruelty behind the scenes.”
Other travel companies have taken similar steps. In 2018, the UK-based Thomas Cook stopped excursions to SeaWorld, while Virgin made a similar move the following year. Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook’s chief executive, said at the time, “We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months, and taken account of the scientific evidence they have provided. We have also taken feedback from our customers, more than 90% of whom told us that it was important that their holiday company takes animal welfare seriously. And when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them.” Perhaps Klook should also consult its customers regarding the animal exploitation businesses it still supports.