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Eight major travel companies have stopped promoting or selling tickets for camel rides at the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, which are popular with some tourists but cruel to the camels, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Scott Dunn, TCS World Travel, Wilderness Travel, Travel Leaders Group, Tauck, Abercrombie & Kent USA, Grand Circle Corporation and Artisans of Leisure all agreed to disassociate from the camel rides after a video exposé from PETA Asia showing that the camels used for rides at Giza and other Egyptian tourist sites were harshly treated — in some cases beaten until bloody, tugged by the nose, or forced to walk on their knees. The film also found that the animals had their legs tightly tied to prevent them from escaping, and some were lashed to the backs of vehicles and dragged through the desert.

PETA Applauds Companies for Their Commitment

“Top travel companies across the country are dropping camel ride promotions like hot potatoes,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is celebrating these in-the-know companies for cutting ties with cruelty to camels, and we’re calling on Egyptian authorities to take note and ban these shameful rides that harm animals and disturb tourists.”

Egypt received mostly failing grades on the Animal Protection Index, a nation-by-nation scoring of national animal protection and anti-cruelty laws compiled by the animal welfare group World Animal Protection.

Simon Lynch, director of global sales and product for Scott Dunn, said that the luxury tour operator suspended the promotion and sale of all camel rides in Egypt “in line with our Responsible Travel policy and its pillar of protecting the environment and wildlife.”

Under that policy, Scott Dunn also eschews the promotion of marine parks and elephant rides. PETA has been involved in a similar campaign to get tourism companies to cease promoting elephant rides — citing abusive treatment of animals as well as the physical damage caused by carrying saddles and riders — rounding up pledges from 50 entities, including TripAdvisor, Collette, Intrepid Travel, and others.

PETA also opposes other types of “animal encounters” and tourism involving animals, including everything from swimming with dolphins to attending bullfights.

Earlier this year, World Animal Protection released a report ranking major travel companies on their commitment to avoiding profiting from exploitative wildlife experiences.

The 2023 Tracking the Travel Industry report ranked companies based on their animal welfare policies, targets for progress in meeting animal welfare commitments, engagement with the industry and suppliers, and providing resources empowering consumers to make wildlife-friendly choices.

Among the assessed companies, the Travel Corporation — which owns brands like Kontiki, Trafalgar and Insight Vacations — ranked highest, followed by Airbnb and Expedia. Groupon, Klook, and were at the bottom of the rankings.