Thomson Confirms End To Elephant Treks After PETA Appeal

For Immediate Release:

3 March 2016


Calum Proctor 044 207 837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]


Holiday Planner Has Stopped Promoting Cruel Elephant Shows and Will Cease Offering Dangerous Elephant Rides

London – After being inundated with complaints from the public about Thomson’s extensive promotion of cruel elephant rides, including a tour in which baby elephants are forced to “dance and juggle”, the travel provider has now confirmed to PETA its plans to stop promoting elephant tours. In an e-mail to PETA, Thomson Managing Director Nick Longman confirmed that all excursions involving elephants shows, in which elephants exhibit unnatural behaviour, have been removed from Thomson’s customer offering. In addition, Thomson is working with suppliers and partners in various destinations to phase out all elephant riding excursions over the course of 2016. This decision will apply across the entire TUI Group – the world’s largest leisure, travel and tourism company – which Thomson is part of.

“There’s only one way to force elephants to perform tricks and give rides, and that’s through beatings and the constant threat of violence”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “Thomson’s kind decision to stop offering elephant treks in the coming months will ensure that well-meaning tourists don’t accidentally support cruelty to animals.”

In its initial letter to Thomson, PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – pointed out that still-nursing baby elephants are forcibly separated from their mothers, immobilised, beaten and gouged with nails, sometimes for days at a time, in a process called phajaan. Those who survive the process will spend the rest of their lives in chains, lugging tourists around and being beaten with bullhooks – weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp metal hook on one end.

A lifetime of stress and deprivation can cause elephants to lash out; just last month, a Scottish tourist was killed by an elephant during a trekking tour. Elephant tours also present a disease risk: tuberculosis, one of the deadliest diseases in the world, is transmissible from elephants to humans and has been documented in elephants throughout Asia.

Thomson joins STA Travel, Intrepid Travel and G Adventures in pledging never to promote cruel activities with captive elephants.

For more information, please visit