Anyone who travels abroad on holiday often encounters animal suffering and problematic tourist attractions from an animal welfare perspective. The boundaries between tradition and tourist trade are often blurred. Unscrupulous professionals know exactly how to lure holidaymakers and accept deliberate animal cruelty. An information sheet from the Swiss Animal Protection PSA explains the ins and outs and provides practical advice on how to behave.
Depending on the region of the world and the culture, the way humans treat animals is very different from our Western customs and sensitivities. Holidaymakers are often inadvertently confronted with the issue of animal protection, whether just at the sight of several stray dogs and cats or when visiting a market. In many countries, the law does not adequately protect animals from cruel treatment, or the laws are not enforced. As for tourist attractions with animals, it is up to holidaymakers not to support problematic animal shows.
Do not try to bring stray dogs or cats back to Switzerland from your vacation. If you want to give an animal a new home, contact serious animal welfare organizations who can advise and help you. Support a local animal welfare organization. Your donation will allow him to neuter stray cats and dogs, to vaccinate them and get food, to manage a shelter where the animals suitable for it will then have a chance to be placed locally.
Refrain from participating in bullfighting and bull runs, as well as buying bull figures and other bullfighting memorabilia.
Do not participate in rodeos and tell the organizers about any abuses you have observed.
Under no circumstances participate in animal fights and do not pay admission to these shows. As fights are often illegal, one also exposes oneself to criminal penalties as a spectator. If you witness animal fights with dogs, bears, horses or bulls, report them to the police immediately and lodge a complaint with embassies and tourist offices.
Do not participate in sporting events involving animals where the risk of injury is significant and the amounts wagered are high. Demonstrate your opposition to embassies or tourist offices.
Horseback riding, donkey, camel and elephant
Do not take animal walks around tourist attractions, especially if you are not able to assess the detention conditions, or if you can not trust the provider, or if the animals make a bad impression (animal limping, bloody under the saddle, bad hooves). Give up horse-drawn carriage rides in the big cities.
Hunting tourism and deep sea fishing
Do not book hunting trips or deep sea fishing trips. Do not eat whale or dolphin meat. Report hunting tourism to the embassy of your holiday destination.
Animal training and circus
Do not go to the circus during the holidays – especially not outside the EU and the US or Australia. Skip the snake tames or dancing bear shows; turn your back on them and never give them money.
Whale watching, dolphinariums, diving with sharks
Do not visit dolphinariums or respond to offers of “swimming with dolphins” or dolphin-assisted therapy. Before you go on a whale safari or shark diving excursion, find out exactly what the provider’s principles are.
Choose safari providers according to the following criteria: clear rules for how animals should be treated, respect for minimum distances and maximum durations, small groups, ban on leaving the vehicle or touching the animals, professional accompaniment by a ranger hunter or guide with zoological experience.
Animal markets and souvenirs
Do not buy memorabilia that required animal death. Refrain from buying live animals out of compassion – this usually only promotes demand. Depending on the protection status of the animal species, you are subject to criminal sanctions if you import an animal into Switzerland without the corresponding import permit.
To download the information sheet: “Holidays and protection of animals”