Saturday, 13 February 2016

Tourism … and animal cruelty

An elephant used in the tourism industry in Thailand.
(Credit: PRNewsFoto/World Animal Protection).

A STUDY by the University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit has found that three out of four wildlife tourist attractions involve some form of animal abuse or conservation concerns.

World Animal Protection (WAP), which commissioned the global research, believes that at least 550,000 wild animals are suffering at the hands of irresponsible tourist attractions around the world.

WAP has compiled a list of the ten cruelest wildlife entertainment activities:
  • Riding elephants 
  • Taking tiger selfies 
  • Walking with lions 
  • Visiting bear parks 
  • Holding sea turtles 
  • Performing dolphins 
  • Dancing monkeys 
  • Touring civet cat coffee plantations 
  • Charming snakes and kissing cobras 
  • Farming crocodiles 

The organization estimates that approximately 110 million people visit cruel wildlife tourist attractions each year, unaware of the animal abuse involved. Abuses include very young animals being taken from their mothers and beaten and harmed during training to ensure they are passive enough to give rides, perform tricks, or pose for vacation 'selfies' with tourists, with the worst venues including bear, elephant, and tiger parks.

Elizabeth Hogan, U.S. Wildlife campaign manager at World Animal Protection, said: ‘It's clear that thousands of tourists are visiting wildlife attractions, unaware of the abuse wild animals face behind the scenes.

‘We need to stop the demand for elephant rides and shows, as well as hugs and selfies with tigers and lions, by exposing the hidden suffering behind wildlife attractions. If you can ride, hug, or have a selfie with a wild animal, then you can be sure the attraction is cruel. Vote with your wallet and don't go.’

WAP has so far secured commitments from 87 travel companies to stop selling elephant rides and shows. TripAdvisor, says Ms Hogan, can also make a huge impact. ‘We're proposing ways it can inform tourists about the cruelty at most wildlife venues.’

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Picture Credit:">Golf Ball and Tees on White Background</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)

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