If you are an animal lover, the thought of getting up close and personal with your favourite species while on holiday in some far-flung exotic destination may sound like a dream come true, but if you look behind the scenes, all may not be as it seems when it comes to animal attractions.
Like many of my fellow travellers, I myself have ridden camels, taken photos with tigers, and watched Orca shows at Florida’s most iconic water park, but with recent reports from PETA and Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit highlighting just how cruel these ‘attractions’ really are, it’s time for us all to think seriously about the negative impact we are having on some of the world’s most beautiful creatures when we invade their space.
If you are heading on holiday soon, here are just a few of the animal attractions that you should avoid at all costs, and the reasons why…
Riding elephants is a popular attraction in Southern Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam, but the truth is, these beautiful and intelligent animals are torn away from their mothers at an early age, forced to train for up to 14 hours a day, and are often chained up and abused when they do not perform as required.
Taking Photos with Tigers
Tiger Kingdom in Thailand (Chang Mai & Phuket) attracts thousands of visitors each year, who pose next to fully grown tigers for selfies. Sadly, these beautiful creatures are bred in captivity to be nothing more than photo backdrops, they are often drugged, and the babies are taken away from their mothers at birth so they can be manhandled by us! Let’s stop this now!
Swimming with Dolphins
This is a dream come true for many, and as dolphins are highly sociable creatures, one may think that they actually enjoy human interaction, but according to PETA – they don’t! They are forced to live in tiny tanks, forced to drag humans around by their sensitive dorsal fins, and forced to perform for food.
Monkey / Bird Shows
Monkeys and Birds (specifically parrots) are often used to entertain tourists in holiday resorts, but again, they are often confined to cages when they are not performing, chained up for 24 hour a day, and in the case of birds, have their wings clipped so they are denied even their most natural instincts.
Perhaps the cruellest animal attraction of all, Orca Shows confine these majestic creatures to tiny tanks that deny them of everything that is natural. According to PETA, SeaWorld will no longer to continue to breed orcas for its live shows, and when you consider that many die years ahead of their life expectancy due to stress and loneliness, we cannot be in doubt that they have made the right decision!
There are many ways in which you can view wild animals in their natural habitat without having a negative impact. View the PETA website for more information. Furthermore, you can take a pledge on the World Animal Protection site never to take part in such activities again: https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.uk/campaigns/animals-wild/wildlife-not-entertainers/worlds-cruellest-attractions