The news was released by international animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) this morning (Aug 5).
Confirmation from Ctrip in an email sent to PETA was provided to The Phuket News.
“After urging from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and nearly 100,000 compassionate people around the world – and following a PETA and National Geographic report exposing cruelty in the animal-tourism industry and at this facility in particular – Ctrip (owner of Skyscanner, Trip.com, and Tours4fun) has stopped selling tickets to the notorious Samutprakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo,” said the PETA release.
“It joins Thailand's Flying Elephant Travel in not selling Samutprakarn tickets after hearing from PETA,” it added.
The move by Ctrip follows PETA sharing disturbing new video footage obtained by eyewitnesses showing elephants – including the baby Gluay Hom, whose condition has sparked a global outcry – with bleeding wounds and tethered by extremely short chains at Samutprakan.
“Handlers jabbed them with sharp metal spikes and forced them to give rides and perform tricks, such as bowling, painting, and dancing. Unable to interact with each other, the elephants continuously swayed back and forth, a symptom of psychological distress,” PETA explained in its release.
“Ctrip did the right thing in nixing tickets to this despicable, abusive, brazen operation,” said PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker.
“PETA is calling on all travel companies still offering excursions to such facilities to follow Ctrip’s compassionate, business-savvy example and strike exploitative businesses from their itineraries,” he added.
PETA's eyewitnesses also found a tiger, a chimpanzee, an orangutan, and other animals being exploited as photo props.
When not being used for photos, the primates were held in cramped cages.
“They appeared to be frustrated and depressed, as they were denied mental stimulation and any opportunity for social interaction, both of which are extremely important to their well-being,” PETA explained.
More than 50 travel agencies – including global operators smarTours, TripAdvisor, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Travel, and TUI Group—have committed to not offering activities that exploit elephants, and PETA is now calling on HopeTrip to stop telling tickets to Samutprakarn, the renowned organisation added in the release.