Visiting a new country and soaking in the culture and customs are some of the best things about travelling. Whether we’re wandering through the beautiful countryside in Europe, taking in the colours and sights in Asia, or discovering new places in Australia, we all love to take part in local customs and activities.
However, in light of new information, the World Animal Protection has named and shamed some of the worst local activities tourists can take part in. The attractions revolve around animals and have been popular with holiday-makers for years. The World Animal Protection has called the popular attractions “holiday horrors” and has warned people from visiting them on their next trip away.
Take a look at the list below and tell us: have you ever visited any of these attractions?
1. Riding elephants
It may look like a fun and exciting ride, but riding elephants is one of the cruellest animal attractions out there. The elephants are trained to submit to their handlers, with many of them being locked in small cages, tied up with chains and ropes and beaten with bull hooks.
2. Taking tiger selfies
Baby tigers are often taken away from their mothers at young age so they can be used as photo props for hours while tourists cuddle up for the perfect shot. They are keep tied up in small cages with concrete floors – a world away from their natural habitat.
3. Walking with lions
Similar to tigers, lion are taken away from their mothers at a young age – some as young one-month-old. When the cubs grow up they are used as walking-with-lions tourist experiences, where they are chained to handlers who walk them around all day long for tourists’ pleasure.
4. Visiting bear parks
There have been many videos circulating on social media that show the horrible conditions circus bears are kept in while they wait for the tourists to arrive to take pictures of them. They are often kept in crowded pits all together, with no room to move around let alone roam free. Many are forced to perform tricks and are beaten by trainers behind the scenes.
5. Holding sea turtles
Many people think of holding sea turtles as an innocent activity they can take part in on holiday. However, the organisation says it can weaken the turtle’s immune system, making it more susceptible to disease.
6. Performing dolphins
It’s one of the most popular tourist attraction out there, but performing dolphins suffer a huge amount of stress from being in such a confined environment. Dolphins taken out of the wild and then locked in captivity often face even more stress with many developing stress-related illness and gastric ulcers. Many have even suffered from heart attacks due to the stress and pressure they face.
7. Dancing monkeys
Dancing monkeys are particularly popular in Asia, where they are trained to act “human” from a young age. When they’re not performing they are often chained with little room to move around.
8. Touring civet cat coffee plantations
Civets are small nocturnal animals that are used to create civet coffee – a luxury item that sells for up to $100 per cup. The civets are force-fed berries, which they excrete into pellets. The pellets are collected and used to make the coffee to sell to tourists. The force-feeding of the animals often causes disease, poor nutrition and even injury.
9. Charming snakes and kissing cobras
Snake charming is popular throughout India and Asia, with many tourists marvelling at the handlers ability to control the deadly animal. What many tourists are unaware of however, is that the snakes are captured in the wild and defanged with pliers, which can cause nasty infections.
10. Farming crocodiles
While tourists can visit crocodile farms for photo opportunities, the main function of the farms is breeding for skin and meat. They crocs are keeps in crowed enclosures before they are killed to make bags, shoes, and belts for the fashion industry.