Live Animal Shows
For many, swimming with dolphins, taking an elephant ride or stroking a tiger are ‘must-do’ holiday activities. However most of these experiences involve cruelty to the animals, even when the opposite is claimed. It’s wise to do a little research before you attend any such shows and not just by checking the attraction website.
It’s only fair to admit, I’ve made mistakes in this area. I visited Legoland in the UK with my nephews, only to find there were sharks kept in dark tanks in one of the attractions. It was so unnecessary and heartbreaking. Confusingly, the attraction was supported by a marine charity. However I did a little research afterwards and found out the charity is run by Merlin Entertainment who own the park and several other key attractions in the UK. I personally will not visit any other Merlin Entertainment attractions in future and now research all attractions before I go.
Please do a little research before you buy tickets for attractions, this way we can be kind to the wonderful creatures who inhabit our planet with us.
Dolphins and whales
Captive dolphins and whales have often been stolen from the wild, then kept in confined spaces and mistreated. Food is withheld until they perform as expected and they die much younger than they would in the wild.
Dolphin attractions can be misleading, even those that claim to feature wild dolphins. They may be in the sea but they are confined and food is withheld unless they interact with tourists as expected. And it is telling that Orca whales have never attacked humans in the wild, but they have in captivity – several trainers have been killed as a result.
An ethical and genuinely wild dolphin or whale experience will involve a boat trip to find wild pods. Some of these trips offer the opportunity for you to get in the water with them and crucially, the dolphins and whales have the choice to leave anytime they wish. Please support these activities.
Sharks are complex creatures; they are clever hunters, migratory and can swim at speeds over 30 mph. Many species need to move constantly in order to survive.
Sharks sometimes die within days of capture, if they are lucky they will live a few years, much less than the decades they can survive in the open ocean.
Did you know the majority of sharks are harmless to humans? I have dived, swam and snorkelled with many sharks over the years and there’s not a scratch on me! You can see reef sharks in the wild by diving and snorkelling around the world.
Tigers and lions
These attractions often market themselves as sanctuaries caring for rescued animals, this is rarely the case. Typically the animals are chained and drugged so as not to pose any threat, and kept in soul-less, small spaces where they are unable to socialise, hunt or even move around freely.
I quite like the look of the safaris where the humans are in a cage and the animals are free! They may cost a lot more to get to, but surely no amount of money is worth inflicting cruelty on others.
Elephant rides in places like Thailand and India are popular, especially when they take you through countryside. In response to recent criticism of the treatment of elephants many of these attractions now call themselves sanctuaries, but this is rarely the case. Elephants are taken from the wild and beaten and starved into submission. Several elephants have died from exhaustion, some while still chained up.
There are genuine sanctuaries, so carefully research the attraction before you go, independently of the attraction’s website. Visiting a genuine sanctuary means your money is going towards improving the life of an abused animal, now that’s something to tell people about when you get home!