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