Stop Selling Asian Tiger Farm Tours!
This petition made change with 128 supporters!
Royal Caribbean is the 2nd largest cruise line operator on Earth, with a squeaky-clean image and unparalleled commitment to the environment.
That's why I was shocked to find that Royal Caribbean, along with sister cruise line Celebrity Cruises, is selling excursions to a tiger farm in Thailand.
Tourists aboard Royal Caribbean's cruises to Thailand and Vietnam have the option to sign up for shore excursion BP08, a trip to the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo in Pattaya, Thailand. According to Royal Caribbean's website, Sri Racha is "the greatest tiger zoo in the world...a fascinating zoo consisting of over 100 Bengal tigers."
But in reality, this “zoo” is nothing more than a sinister tiger "factory farm" which breeds the endangered species by the hundreds, then illegally exports them to China, where they are slaughtered and used in illicit medicinal products.
The owners of the zoo have been investigated by Thailand's National Intelligence subcommittee and formally charged by CITES for illegally trafficking hundreds of live tigers into China.
Products made from pulverized tiger bones are even prominently sold in the zoo's gift shop.
As if that weren't bad enough, the animals at the Sri Racha Zoo live relentlessly awful lives. From the moment they are born, they exist for the sole purpose of making as much money as possible for the zoo's proprieters.
Immediately after birth, the tiger cubs are ripped from their mothers and thrown into tiny, rusted cages, where visitors pay to bottlefeed them. One of these cages, photographed in 2011, is pictured at the top of this page. A few cubs are chosen to be wheeled out to the zoo lobby where, for just $5 U.S., tourists may take a photo with the screaming cub on their lap.
Online reviewers of the zoo claim to have seen horrific mistreatment of the cubs, including staff shaking and throwing the cubs, cubs with sores on their heads, and extremely malnourished cubs.
For a little extra money, tourists may also lay on top of a full-grown adult tiger, which is attached to rocks by a chain so short the animal cannot lift its head.
Elsewhere on the grounds, over 400 adult tigers are kept together in tiny, feces-filled concrete enclosures, where breeding and fighting run rampant. One recent visitor counted 31 adult tigers in a 900 square meter pen. Another claims that many of the tigers have been declawed and had their canine teeth pulled out. Horrifyingly, guests are even encouraged to shoot BB guns into the tiger enclosures in order to hit targets and release bits of meat for the cats.
To squeeze every last penny from the tigers, Sri Racha also forces their animals to perform in gaudy "circus shows". A reporter from the Animal Welfare Institute who visited the zoo claims that the "Amazing Circus" show featured
..."tigers leaping through rings of fire, walking across a double tightrope, parading around the ring on hind legs, and riding around on the back of the horse. Up close, however, one could clearly see the animals' debilitation and fear. All of the animals awaited their turn to perform in a gated tunnel, keepers constantly poking them with a steel pole through the iron mesh. The animals in the show were smacked in the face with the pole fairly regularly and most seemed to have drastic weakness in their hind legs. It was a painful display to watch."
It's simply apalling that such cruelty and disregard for endangered species exists in the 21st century. It's even more apalling that Royal Caribbean supports it. In fact, they profit from it, because cruise lines get a cut of the money made by the attractions they promote.
The bottom line is, as long as this tour is on their itineraries, Royal Caribbean is directly complicit in fueling the illegal wildlife trade that's killing the world's last wild tigers. It's disgusting, and it's unacceptable.
Urge Royal Caribbean to cut their ties with Sri Racha Tiger Zoo immediately!
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