Are you an animal-friendly tourist?

As a tourist, your money may support trades and events that profit from animal suffering, pain and death. When you are on holiday, you can enjoy the beauty of nature and rich cultural traditions of the countries you visit without taking part in activities that harm animals.

Here is the compassionate person’s guide to an animal-friendly holiday:

Marine Mammal Parks: The Underwater Prisons
Do not patronise marine parks that keep dolphins and whales.

Cetaceans (dolphins and whales) are known to suffer greatly in captivity, as they are extremely social, intelligent and active animals with huge home ranges in the wild. Captive marine mammals often live in small, sterile, chlorinated enclosures and are deprived of their natural activity level, social groups and interactions with their natural environment. Many of them develop stereotypic behaviour or aggression which is not known to occur in the wild. They are often forced to entertain visitors with unnatural and degrading tricks which teach nothing about their true behaviour. Training methods can be cruel, often involving food deprivation.

We are now campaigning for Resorts World Sentosa to let the 25 dolphins go home. Join us on facebook cos numbers count.

Animal Acts: Cruelty Parading As Entertainment
Do not pay to watch an animal perform tricks or patronise places that have performing animal shows.

Animals forced into entertainment in circus-style shows, such as cycling bears, golfing orang utans and fire-hoop jumping tigers, often endure enormous stress and pain. Training methods may include beatings, food deprivation, drugging and surgically removing or impairing their teeth and claws. Often, they are not given adequate housing or care and live in appalling conditions when not performing. Some zoos, in countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan, feature such circus-style animal shows.

Captive elephants in Thailand’s elephant parks- who are made to ‘dance’, play musical instruments, ‘play football’ and perform other such unnatural tricks- may endure similar brutal treatment, and are often cruelly controlled through the use of the ankus- a metal hook with a sharp end which inflicts pain when used on an elephants’ sensitive skin. Many spend their lives chained up when not performing. In India and Pakistan, ‘dancing bears’ are trained using brutal methods such as being forced to walk on hot coals and, to add to their torment, they also have rough ropes painfully pierced through their muzzles, by which they are controlled.

Such cruelty will only stop when we refuse to watch.

Animal Photography: No Fun For The Animals
Never pay to have your photo taken with a wild animal, either on the street or at a zoo.

Wild animals are used for photography, feeding and cuddling sessions in some zoos, hotels, restaurants and even on streets and beaches. Some, especially those on the streets, may have been captured from the wild after watching their families being killed. In some zoos, baby animals are torn from their mothers and siblings at a young age to be used as ‘photo props’ and suffer greatly from this separation. Many are over-handled, starved and stressed. When they are out of sight of tourists, they could be chained, beaten, kicked and confined to tiny, bare cages, with little or no veterinary care. Animals such as tigers, lions, bears, gibbons and macaques may be drugged to make them inactive, and may have their teeth and claws pulled out to make them less dangerous.

Such cruelty will only stop when we refuse to take our photograph with wild animals.

Animal Rides: Abuse On The Roads
Do not participate in animal rides or encourage ‘begging elephants’ on the city streets.

    When travelling, you will frequently come across animals such as elephants and horses forced to take tourists for rides in sweltering temperatures, usually without sufficient food, water or shelter. Some are malnourished, abused, old, injured or even pregnant. In Bangkok, although elephants are banned from the streets, their owners still walk them through the city hoping to make money from sympathetic residents and tourists. Many of these elephants are reported to be suffering from neglect and, at times, mistreatment. The elephants are at high risk from traffic accidents and from injuries caused by stepping on harmful items.

      Exotic Meat: Recipes for Torture
      Do not be tempted to try ‘exotic’ meats when on holiday.

      When you travel you want to try new things but do not eat wildlife or domestic animals. This fuels illegal poaching and causes great pain and suffering. Wild animals are often captured and slaughtered in brutal ways. In countries like Korea, wild animals are trapped with wires around their mouths, leaving them to starve to death. In many countries, turtles have their meat scraped off while still alive. Dogs are struck with blunt blows to the head and then butchered while still conscious. Cats are boiled and skinned alive. Avoid restaurants which serve such meat, and let them know why you won’t patronise them.

Live Animal Markets: Kidnapping Animals From Their Homes
Avoid visiting markets that sell live animals.

Avoid live animal markets in countries like Indonesia and Thailand, where native and exotic species of birds, reptiles and mammals are offered for sale. Many of these species are protected by law. These creatures are often orphaned by poachers and illegally captured from the wild. They are mostly kept in filthy, tiny cages with little or no water, food, care or shade from the gruelling sun. Visiting and patronising these places will only encourage this cruel industry.

    Souvenirs: Murder For The Sake Of Trinkets
    Never buy souvenirs made from animals.

    When you buy souvenirs made from skins, shells, ivory, bone, fur or other animal products, the animals pay with their lives. To make combs and necklaces, turtles may be cut up while they are still alive. For the sake of ivory seals and chopsticks, elephants are shot down and sometimes their faces are cut off to remove their tusks. Buying endangered species products not only fuels demand and causes more suffering, it pushes the species further towards extinction. Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, it is also a serious offence to import, export or posses an endangered species (including their parts, related products or derivatives) in Singapore without a proper permit.