Warn users of animal cruelty at tourist attractions
Each year, thousands of tourists flock to attractions where animals are the stars, without the knowledge of the cruelty inflicted in order for them to act in these ways. This cruelty is often veiled by showmanship and fun.
The reality is, these attractions are all too often built on disturbing mistreatment and abuse... and our tourist dollars are funding it.
Most notably and arguably the most upsetting, are the popular elephant trekking excursions in Thailand. In order for tourists to comfortably hop on an elephant, young elephants must endure something people call 'Phajaan', or “the crush”. These elephants are separated from their mothers and confined to small spaces, beaten by bull hooks and denied sufficient food and sleep. This abuse can be well covered up and takes place behind the scenes which enables the abusers to feed tourists misinformation on the welfare of their animals. Due to their size, people might also be surprised to learn that riding elephants can cause long-term harm to their spines.
Attractions where trainers carry sticks and weapons, and where selfies with wild animals are encouraged, are signs that animals have been 'trained' by associating weapons with pain and are being held captive purely for profit. These attractions are often under the guise of 'sanctuary's' and 'conservation centers'. There are better alternatives out there that aim to provide a safe haven for animals, and as a rule, do not involve rides or tricks, and they allow animals to engage in natural behaviours.
It's up to you to make up your own mind on whether to visit animal themed attractions on your travels, however, I believe that animal cruelty should be well-documented so that those who are opposed to it can avoid funding animal abusers.
There are methods of judging welfare standards, for example, ABTA have created Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, and by using a Red/Amber/Green style system, TripAdvisor can enable users to make informed decisions on whether to avoid attractions where animals have been mistreated.
Awareness is key and Tripadvisor has the perfect platform for this. Please help by asking them to attach warnings to attractions known for animal suffering.
As the world’s largest travel site, we ask you to provide important information regarding animal welfare on your pages.
Many attractions administer unthinkable abuse to it's animals in order to deliver an an 'up close experience' for tourists. This abuse is often hidden and visitors are clouded with misinformation, and as a consequence, those who are opposed to animal cruelty can end up funding animal abuse unknowingly.
As a trusted travel site, we ask you to attach warnings to your pages where animal mistreatment is known. In these cases, positive reviews can be misleading since mistreatment can be well covered up, and visitors are often fed false information.
To include a red/amber/green style system using tourism animal welfare guidelines, similar to those created by ABTA, would allow users to make informed decisions on whether to include these places on their travels.
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