New tourism standards to protect animals across the world

A new initiative aiming to protect animals used in tourism will be launched in the European Parliament today.

The Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism guidelines have been developed by tourism group ABTA and aim to tackle cruelty by improving welfare standards for animals across the world.

Common practices involving animals in tourism destinations, targeted by the Global Welfare Guidance, include activities that have the potential to impose severe, negative impacts on the welfare of wild animals in captivity. Examples include:

  • the use of wild animals as props in souvenir photographs, (where lions, tigers, birds and reptiles are drugged, manipulated and occasionally have claws or teeth removed to reduce human safety risks);
  • animal performances based on unnatural behaviours and animal shows where training methods compromise welfare;
  • bullfighting, cockfighting and bear baiting;
  • the over-use and neglect of horses, donkeys, mules and other working animals
  • canned hunting, where captive-bred wild animals are shot for trophies;
  • the sale of wildlife products, such as ivory, which stimulate poaching.

Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP for the South East, will be speaking at the launch event of the new guidelines. He said:

People are sick of seeing animals treated badly. It´s gratuitous to cause unnecessary suffering and upsetting, especially to children.

These new guidelines, supported by the travel industry and NGOs alike, could make a huge difference to the lives of animals across the world. There’s no excuse for animal cruelty to play any part in anyone’s holiday.”

Video from the Born Free Foundation:

Daniel Turner, spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation, one of the organisations involved in the development of the Guidance, explained, “Animals are used in tourism activities across the world from viewing of animals in the wild; visiting zoos or dolphinariums; riding horses or elephants; buying a souvenir made from wildlife products.  Animal interactions are reportedly included in 70% of tourism excursions.”

Caroline Allen, a vet and the Green Party’s spokesperson on animals, said:

‘This is an excellent initiative, many people report being distressed by the treatment of animals used for tourist entertainment. Cracking down on these practices won’t just be good for the animals but will enable animal lovers to enjoy their holidays without the fear of inadvertently supporting animal cruelty.’ 


1)      The guidelines will be available from ABTA. They can be reached on 020 3117 0596

2)      The guidelines are being launched in the European Parliament on June 18, 12:30-14:00h in the European Parliament, Room ASP 5E1.