The travel and tourism website TripAdvisor today announced a new prohibitive booking policy, noting it will no longer sell tickets to any facility caring for cetaceans – dolphins and whales – unless the facility agrees to let their current residents be the last to live at those facilities. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) condemns TripAdvisor’s new policy and stands behind every AZA-accredited member who cares for dolphins and whales. Dan Ashe, AZA President and CEO, issued the following statement:
“TripAdvisor is letting voices of a radical minority dictate corporate policy, rather than listening to the voices and preferences of their customers.
The quality of care provided by AZA member facilities is well-established and affirmed through our rigorous and independent accreditation process, which assures the well-being of the animals in their care always comes first based on the highest levels of scientific evidence and data.
Well-designed habitats and respectfully conducted interactions with cetaceans at accredited facilities are increasingly popular with public audiences, and they are proven to create connections that promote understanding and inspire action by the guests.
Revenue generated at AZA facilities that care for dolphins and whales directly supports millions of dollars in animal welfare research, global conservation efforts, and critical rescue and rehabilitation activities, not the capture of cetaceans from the wild.
TripAdvisor is going down the same path as Thomas Cook and should take a close look at what happens to businesses that put extreme opinions ahead of informed customers. Each year, millions of people visit AZA-accredited facilities that care for dolphins and whales, and visitation continues to grow. Certainly, TripAdvisor competitors will pay attention and see an opportunity to service a growing market for humane, respectful, and inspiring animal interaction.
TripAdvisor should give its customers good information and trust them to make well-informed decisions.”
You can learn more about AZA’s accreditation standards at its website: https://www.aza.org/accreditation
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and 11 other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.