Dear (MP NAME)

Request to back Animals Abroad Bill to stop UK tour operators promoting elephant brutality and spread of deadly viruses to tourists

As your constituent I ask that you urge Lord Goldsmith at DEFRA to introduce without delay Government’s proposed Animals Abroad Bill announced in May 2021 to ban advertising and sale of access to cruel and highly dangerous Asian elephant related “attractions”. Endangered baby elephants are snatched from the wild, starved, beaten and stabbed to “break” them for easy commercial exploitation – riding, selfies and “tricks” – reinforced by extreme violence throughout their remaining lives.

Save The Asian Elephants www.stae.org has so far revealed over 1,250 companies promoting hundreds of the most violent Asian elephant-related venues in the UK market by thousands of adverts. In 2018/19 two million UK tourists visited India and Thailand. In 2016 13 million elephant rides occurred in Thailand alone.

Elephants provoked by abuse attack and kill tourists. Broken down and held in fetid close confinement they also transmit deadly airborne viruses to humans such as TB, SARS and, science suggests, Covid-19 too.

There is now evidence of extensive human trafficking involved in unethical elephant tourism.

“Guidelines” pushed by ABTA (formerly the Association of British Travel Agents) are vague, full of loopholes, lack any mechanism for monitoring, enforcement or sanctions for breach, are wholly voluntary, with no industry take up or effect. Even the experts who helped ABTA draft them express dismay that key advice has been excluded by ABTA in the published version, and describe it as positively “dangerous” in a Covid world. ABTA as the paid mouthpiece for such operators is plainly conflicted. Indeed STAE has so far identified almost 100 ABTA members promoting all the most brutal venues. ABTA and its members have for years ignored all requests to promote only ethical elephant sanctuaries.

STAE has also recorded numerous broken promises of change, showing the futility of blandishments as a substitute for law and fitting penalties.

Populus polling (July 2020) shows 90% of Britons demand an immediate end to such abuse. 79% want STAE’s new law now. STAE’s petition has over 1 million signatures and 32 million more from aligned petitions, backed by 100 influencers and key bodies including all main SE Asian religions.

The Animals Abroad Bill would ban UK advertising and sale of such venues, promoting genuine sanctuaries where elephants are observed from a safe distance. But there must be no delay: when travel restrictions lift UK tourists will again unwittingly contribute to such atrocities and be exposed to grave dangers and more deaths.

I look forward to hearing that you have asked Government to introduce the Bill urgently, and crucially that it has appropriate custodial penalties as well as fines for serious breaches. Thank you.

Yours sincerely

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