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World’s worst animal entertainment abuses exposed

The show can’t go on – world’s worst animal entertainment abuses exposed

Today on World Animal Day (Saturday 4 October), World Animal Protection highlights the worst types of suffering endured by wild animals in the tourism industry; as well as Kiwi attitudes against this form of animal cruelty.

From elephant rides, to walking with lions, taking selfies with tigers to swimming with dolphins, wild animal attractions are currently part of too many holidays. Yet tourists are largely unaware of the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes. That is why World Animal Protection is launching a new global campaign to keep wild animals in the wild.

Tourists might think riding an elephant or walking with lions does no harm. But
the brutal truth is that breaking these animals’ spirits to the point where they allow humans to interact with them involves cruelty at every turn; snatching them from their parents in the wild or breeding them in captivity; transporting them; keeping them in isolation and beating them to break their wills. An animal in the wild would never let someone get up close to it.

Global research carried out for World Animal Protection highlights the startling truth that nearly 50% of people pay for a wild animal experience because they love animals. With 61% of New Zealand respondents for example, currently thinking that going on an elephant ride is acceptable. And 55% thinking that posing for a photo with a wild animal is also acceptable. The charity, which has campaigned successfully to stop the cruelty of bear dancing in India, Greece and Turkey, is revealing today’s worst abuses of wild animals in tourism so holiday makers, including Kiwis, can know about the truth behind the scenes, before they book.

Bridget Vercoe, Country Director at World Animal Protection New Zealand, says “Tourists here in New Zealand and across the world have been duped into thinking that interactions with captive wild animals are entertaining. What they don’t realise is that ‘once in a lifetime’ for tourists means a lifetime of misery for wild animals. Quite simply, animal entertainment is animal abuse.

“Now they know the truth we’re calling for tourists and tour operators to work with us to end this animal cruelty once and for all.”

Ms Vercoe however, feels positive about the potential change of attitude and actions of Kiwis, towards wild animals in tourism, when on holiday. “87% of New Zealand respondents to our survey, also said that wild animals ‘belong in the wild’. As a result, a startling 90% went on to say that tour operators should avoid activities that cause animal suffering, with 50% also saying that they would choose not to travel with a tour operator if it was known that they promote the use of wild animals in entertainment.

“With Kiwis being so aware of their own responsibility and that of tour operators, when it comes to using wild animals in tourism, we look forward to having positive discussions with the New Zealand travel industry; and then ultimately the positive outcomes that this strong, local, consumer opinion could create for wild animals around the globe.”


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