10 things to avoid when on vacation
Wild animal tourist attractions are common around the world, and are popular hot spots for vacationers looking to get close to animals.
By guest blogger Aaron Lax
However, many people do not realise the cruelty that often happens behind closed doors.
Many animals are mistreated, exploited and kept in inadequate living conditions and made to perform on command. Look at our 10 things to avoid when you’re on holiday to ensure you have a cruelty-free trip!
1. Elephant Rides
Elephant rides rely on the elephant’s submission for them to operate. For this to happen, vulnerable baby elephants are taken from their mothers and put through a brutal process known as ‘the crush’. This involves physical abuse with clubs and metal bull hooks, and they are kept in small cages or tied with ropes and chains to prevent voluntary movement.
2. Wildlife Selfies
From baby sloths through to full grown tigers, wildlife selfies include the process of mistreating and sometimes restraining animals so tourists can take a selfie with them. Many of these animals are kept in poor living conditions, and are forced into unnatural and harmful situations daily. With your help, we moved Instagram to include a new 'content advisory page' to educate users about the issues these photos cause for wild animals.
3. Swimming with Dolphins
To meet the tourist demand of swimming with dolphins, many of these highly intelligent animals are cruelly captured from the wild using nets and high-speed boats, and dolphins can die as a result or when in transit. When used for tourist entertainment, dolphins are often kept in inadequate living conditions - unable to communicate, roam or play.
4. Wildlife Souvenirs
From snake wine through to walrus ivory, wildlife souvenirs offer a seemingly exotic trinket for holiday goers to take home. However, many of these products are obtained via cruel or unsustainable methods. Snake wine, for example, includes the process of drowning the snake alive in rice wine. It is also important to keep an eye out for any sea turtle based souvenir, as six out of seven sea turtle species are endangered!
5. Monkey Performances
The monkeys included in monkey shows are forced to undertake demeaning and unnatural tasks for tourist entertainment. Due to the training techniques used, as well as the daily stresses they undergo, monkeys have been known to rock back and forth, suck their lips, salivate and sway against enclosure perimeters in distress: all symptoms of distress.
6. Marine Parks
Marine animals used for tourist entertainment include whales, orcas and dolphins. Each of these rely heavily on their social groups for their well-being and often travel large distances in the wild. When captured and forced to live in enclosed spaces, these animals are cut off from their families and unable to express their natural behaviours. They often die much earlier than they would in the wild.
7. Crocodile Farms
Huge numbers of crocodiles are bred for their skins in the fashion industry, as well as their meat. Crocodile farms serve as a platform for tourists to eat crocodile meat on site, and the demand of the fashion industry causes intensive breeding and horrendous living conditions. As a result, crocodiles can develop fatal diseases due to these stressful conditions.
8. Tiger Tourism
Tiger cubs are typically separated from their mothers just a few weeks after birth and used for tourist selfies where they are mishandled hundreds of times a day, which can lead to stress and injury. Tigers are punished using pain and fear to stop aggressive, unwanted behaviour and are housed in small concrete cages or barren enclosures with limited access to fresh water.
9. Holding sea turtles
The world’s last remaining sea turtle farm that acts as a tourist attraction is in the Cayman Islands. Here, tourists can hold turtles and even eat them during their visit. Suffering from stress and disease, sea turtles live a tortured life at the Cayman Turtle Farm. They often panic when they are handled and it has been known for tourists to drop them, causing significant injuries.
10. Bull Runs and Bull Fighting
‘Running with the Bulls’ is a process that includes forcing a bull to run down cobbled streets, in preparation for a bull fight later the same day. This cruel process not only causes the bull significant distress, it serves as the step before an even crueller attraction: bull fighting. Here, the bull will be taunted and repeatedly stabbed until its exhausted spine is severed. This practice only survives because of huge subsidies and tourist funding.
How Can You Help?
To help ensure you are not contributing to cruelty on your holiday, follow this simple approach:
- If you can ride it, hug it or have a selfie with a wild animal, the chances are it’s a cruel venue. Don’t go.
- Download our guide to an animal friendly holiday.
- Join the movement to help animals used for entertainment.
- Share with friends and family to help us spread awareness.
With your help, we’ll be able to ensure animals stay in the wild where they belong.