As the world leader in international education, we’re passionately committed to respecting and promoting animal welfare as we help our customers experience the world. With the best interests of our four-legged (and winged, and finned) friends in mind, we’re proud to collaborate with the nonprofit organization World Animal Protection.
For more than 50 years, World Animal Protection has created a better world for wildlife, moving people to end needless suffering and change animals’ lives for the better. In 2018, EF Education First became the first international education company to collaborate with the global nonprofit. Guided by our shared belief that exploring a new destination shouldn’t mean harming the animals that call it home, together we’ve implemented industry-leading animal welfare guidelines throughout all EF travel programs worldwide.
“EF is proud to take a leading role in enhancing animal welfare throughout the travel industry,” says Eddie Hult, CEO of EF North America. “We deliver life-changing educational experiences to our travelers every day—we have the power to change the lives of wild animals around the world by making animal welfare a priority, eliminating cruel activities from our tours and by educating our travelers about animal-friendly travel.”
Since initiating our partnership, we’ve stopped offering activities like horse carriage rides, shows that involve animals, and excursions that involve unnatural interactions with wild animals (such as riding, feeding or swimming). We also signed World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly travel pledge, publicly committing to no longer sell or promote attractions offering elephant rides and shows. And in 2021, we plan to eliminate all trips to aquariums.
Today we use the following filters to evaluate future partners and activities: Is this experience truly eye-opening for our travelers? Is the welfare of the animals the top priority of the host or attraction? Does the experience give our travelers unique insights into an important part of the local culture and community?
“We’re focused on what we can add to our experiences and what kind of educational opportunities we can provide,” says Kerryann Driscoll, Vice President of EF Educational Tours, which offers international, teacher-led tours for U.S. middle and high school students. “We’re bringing ethical sanctuaries onboard and partnering with NGOs who can bring a different lens to animal welfare and conservation around the world.”
In addition to these measures, we’re using our core strength—education—to cultivate wildlife-savvy travelers at home and abroad. With guidance from World Animal Protection, we’re offering EF staff and Tour Directors specialized training on the importance of animal welfare, common misconceptions, and simple ways to make an impact. And at the same time, we’re creating new experiential learning opportunities for EF customers, like tours featuring service-learning projects at animal sanctuaries handpicked by World Animal Protection.
And that’s just the beginning. By continuing to innovate, educate and take a stand for animals everywhere, we’re committed to protecting the well-being of wildlife while also empowering all EF students, travelers, and staff to become more responsible, ethical citizens of the world.