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Embrace Compassionate Tourism: Visit Animals Responsibly

This year’s World Animal Day theme is “Great or Small, Love them All” and they have put together some great information for your holidays. How to avoid exploitative animal attractions and support tourism that helps animals and encourages a better quality of life.

Too often, animals are used as a tourist attraction and money-maker. No
care goes into how to look after the animals and what might be best for
them, so they are left chained up, improperly fed, and passed around
strangers for pictures.

What to be wary of:

  • Any “attraction” that uses baby animals and allows you to hold or
    stroke them. These animals are poorly looked after, sometimes drugged to
    be passive and often malnourished and beaten.
  • Any “sanctuary” that keeps animals in a cage unlike their natural
    habitat or a small and bare space. A real sanctuary would keep the
    animal in as natural a habitat as possible. Healthy animals should have
    minimal interaction with staff and no interaction with visitors
  • Any activities where you can ride or swim with animals. The animals
    are forced to do this, and it can be very painful or stress-inducing for
  • Any shows where animals are used for performing. This is often a form
    of punishment for the animals.
  • Any place you can take a picture with an animal at a cost. Animals in
    these situations are being used purely for profit and it is likely the
    animal is not well cared for. If they are an infant, then it is likely
    they have been taken from their mother too early and will not develop

What are good signs:

  • Sanctuaries that do not sell pictures with animals or sell any other
    “experiences” with the animals. These sanctuaries may take a
    donation upon entering, but this is normally a small fee and will not be
    specifically attached to the animals.
  • Sanctuaries do not breed animals. They will be very transparent about
    where all of the animals have come from and will be knowledgeable
    regarding the animals’ needs
  • The habitats should be appropriate for the animals. They should be
    large enough for the number of animals living there
  • There should be no visitor interaction. You should not be allowed to
    touch or hold the animals at all.
  • Their physical and social needs should be considered. Animals should
    be in a large, enriching environment with others of their species (if
    the animal is social) and have good access to food and water.

Use this link to see if a sanctuary is accredited:

To learn more about where you can go on holiday without contributing to
any harm on animals or wildlife, follow the link below to the World
Animal Protection website to view their list of wildlife-friendly travel

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of animals great and