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WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ANIMAL WELFARE

WE ALL LIKE TO THINK WE’RE ANIMAL LOVERS, BUT ARE WE SUPPORTING WILDLIFE CRUELTY WHEN WE TRAVEL? WORDS: JAMES DRAVEN

I have a confession: I’ve stroked a tiger. And I’ve ridden an elephant. Why? Ironically, because of a love of wildlife, I have, in the past, participated in wildlife experiences that, with the benefit of hindsight, I’d certainly never engage in today. While most of us have long boycotted bullfights, dancing bear shows, and circuses using elephants and lions, many of us have unwittingly been supporting animal cruelty on our travels, whether by visiting attractions like Thailand’s Tiger Temple, riding elephants, or even visiting certain zoos and marine wildlife parks.

Last year, Thomas Cook stopped selling tickets to 16 wildlife experiences. This July, it stated that, from next summer, it would be scrapping all trips to SeaWorld and all other wildlife parks with captive orcas. Thomas Cook said this was prompted by a survey it commissioned showing 90% of its customers wanted their holiday company to take animal welfare seriously.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

This month, we ditch the jeep to discover Africa from a different perspective. Whether on foot, by boat or hot air balloon, we’re showcasing the continent’s wild side on an active safari across Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and more. We go north of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland; discover Japan’s Tohoku region; and spend a long weekend in Vilnius. Other highlights this issue include Lima, Fife, Budapest, San Francisco and Turin, while our photo story unearths the tradition of gold panning in Costa Rica.