10 Holiday Activities That Hurt Animals

So you’ve had your work leave approved and booked your flight, and now you’re looking for some fun activities that will fill your Instagram page with travel snaps.

Unfortunately, many Aussies unwittingly support cruelty to animals as they tick items off their holiday bucket lists. Give these things a miss to keep animals out of harm’s way:

Elephant Rides

Elephants have weak backs and don’t want to carry camera-toting tourists. To force them to do this, trainers break their spirits by starving and beating them when they’re just babies.


Or Any Other Animal Rides

It’s not just elephants who don’t want you on their backs. The exploitation of animals for tourist rides inevitably leads to suffering. On the Greek island of Santorini, donkeys and mules are forced to carry heavy loads, given practically no respite from the hot Mediterranean sun, and even denied access to water. They also incur wounds and abrasions from ill-fitting and worn-out saddles.


Tiger ‘Selfies’

It doesn’t matter if you’re petting a tiger or another type of big cat – all the animals used for selfies are bred for only one reason: to line the pockets of their abusers. Tindersaid it best when it asked its users to take down selfies taken with tigers: “Wild animals deserve to live in the wild.” Steer clear of anyone selling “interactive” experiences with wild animals.


Dolphin Shows

Just because dolphins look like they’re smiling doesn’t mean that they’re happy to be stuck in concrete tanks, away from their ocean homes. In the wild, these highly intelligent and social animals may travel more than 100 kilometres in a day and dive several hundred metres deep.


Civet Coffee

Kopi luwak is made from the beans of coffee berries that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet. These animals are taken from their homes in the forest and imprisoned in tiny, barren cages. As if that cruelty weren’t disgusting enough, this drink is literally roasted poo.


In a typical bullfight, a bull is led into an arena, where lances and darts are stabbed into his body to weaken him, before the matador steps in to sever his spinal cord. As a gruesome final touch, the animal’s ears and tail are cut off and presented to the matador as “trophies”.


Fish Pedicures

Why would anyone want to snack on smelly feet? The fish used in these pedicures are starved so that they’re hungry enough to eat the flesh off human feet.

Fish Spa | VnGrijl | CC BY-SA 2.0

Horse-Drawn Carriages

Carriage rides are often advertised as “romantic”, but this industry is anything but loving to horses. Forced to work long hours in all types of weather, while walking on hard pavement and inhaling exhaust fumes, horses used to draw carriages develop debilitating leg problems and suffer from respiratory ailments.

Melbourne Horse-Drawn Carriage©Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages

Circuses With Animals

Animals don’t want to be carted from town to town to perform absurd tricks for noisy crowds of humans. Monkeys, lions, and other animals used in circuses perform such tricks because they have no choice. Unbelievably, Australian circuses continue to exploit animals, conducting training sessions behind closed doors. Help us push for a ban by signing our petition.


Zoos and Aquariums

A life in a cage is no life at all for animals abused in zoos, trapped in exhibits that could never replicate the expansiveness or variety of their natural habitats. No matter what claims these facilities make about animal welfare, their purpose is purely to make money. Some zoos call themselves sanctuaries, so make sure you do some research before you decide to visit one.

Being aware of the abuse behind animal attractions enables us to make informed choices when on holiday and help end the cruelty by refusing to support it.

If you visited an attraction like any of the ones listed above before you knew about the ways in which they mistreat animals, take the opportunity to tell your friends and family not to make the same mistake.

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