After learning from PETA France how animals used in tourist attractions physically and psychologically suffer, French travel provider Club Med has just released a new animal welfare guide detailing plans to stop promoting elephant rides, cruel whale and dolphin exhibits, bullfights, and photo ops with animals.
Taking effect this August, the policies also include a fur ban in the company’s boutiques and recommendations for sterilisation surgeries in countries with large homeless animal populations.
Advice is also included on deterring – rather than killing – mosquitos, showing consideration for even the smallest of animals with whom we share the planet.
A Growing Trend
Club Med joins a long list of companies – including British Airways Holidays, Your Co-op Travel, Virgin Holidays, Premier Holidays, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor – that have adopted progressive animal welfare policies and stopped promoting cruel activities, including elephant rides and trips to marine abusement parks.
What’s Wrong With Attractions Using Animals?
Unlike Club Med’s happy travellers, animals used for entertainment never get a chance to relax or share special moments with their loved ones.
In nature, dolphins form complex relationships and traverse dozens of miles of ocean every day – yet parks such as Sea World confine them to cramped, chemically treated tanks, deprived of opportunities to display natural behaviour or do anything important to them.
Big-cat cubs used for tourists’ selfies typically live in barren cages, and many are either killed or sold to shoddy roadside zoos when they grow too large for photo ops.
Elephant ride operators beat elephants into submission. Abusers break elephants’ spirits in order to force them to perform ridiculous tricks, give rides to tourists, or allow humans to interact with them.
How Can You Make a Difference?
The best thing you can do for animals used and abused in the tourism industry is vote with your wallet. This means never visiting a marine park or any other attraction which holds animals in tanks or cages. Without consumer support, these attractions wouldn’t exist.