TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - On World Animal Day, Saturday 4 October, World Animal Protection exposes the hidden suffering endured by wild animals in the tourism industry.
From elephant rides to walking with lions, selfies with tigers to swimming with dolphins, wild animal attractions are currently part of too many holidays. Yet tourists are largely unaware of the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes.
Tourists might think riding an elephant or walking with lions does no harm. But the brutal truth is that breaking these animals' spirits to the point where they allow humans to interact with them involves cruelty at every turn; snatching them from the wild; transporting them; keeping them in isolation and beating them to break their wills.
Research carried out for World Animal Protection shows that 50% of Canadians pay for a wild animal experience because they love animals and so the charity is revealing the hidden abuses inflicted on these animals to educate potential tourists before they book.
Josey Kitson, Executive Director of World Animal Protection Canada, says:
"At this moment, thousands of potential tourists are searching online for wild animal attractions, unaware of the abuse that goes on behind the scenes. What they don't realize is that a 'once in a lifetime' vacation photo for them means a lifetime of misery for the animal."
"There is hope. Research shows that 82% of Canadians think wild animals belong in the wild and an even higher percentage think tour operators should avoid causing suffering. We want compassionate tourists to know the truth before they book."
Visit www.beforetheybook.org to learn more about the campaign and how tourists can help end this cruel trade.
The world's worst wild animal attractions
Riding elephants - Elephants are isolated, starved and beaten to break their spirits and make them perform. Around 16,000 Asian elephants are suffering in captivity worldwide.
Posing with tigers - To make them safe to handle, cubs are removed from their mothers at an early age and beaten for misbehaviour. Tigers are then kept on leads or in small, barren cages.
Walking with lions - Cubs are so stressed by the constant handling and photos that some lose their hair. Once they grow too large, they're either drugged or abused until they're compliant enough to walk with tourists.
Swimming with dolphins - Captive dolphins live in small, chlorinated pools. An estimated 1,600 bottlenose dolphins are kept in captivity to perform in dolphin shows.
Dancing macaques - Baby macaques are wrenched from the arms of their mothers. They live their lives on short leads, tied to posts or in cramped tiny wire cages. Many young macaques don't survive the harsh training to dance, 'play' a guitar or ride a bike.
View The Show Can't Go On, our special report highlighting some of the worst wild animal abuses in entertainment.
The opinion poll, Wild Animals in Entertainment Global Report, was carried out by TNS BMRB and presented to World Animal Protection on 18 September 2014. Data was weighted to be representative by age, gender and region within country. A total of 13,000 people were surveyed across 14 countries: 1,000 each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, India, Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand and the United States, and 500 each in New Zealand and South Africa.
Image with caption: "An Asian elephant chained up. Elephants used in the entertainment industry are trained to perform tricks and give rides to tourists. © World Animal Protection. (CNW Group/World Society for the Protection of Animals)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141004_C3956_PHOTO_EN_6311.jpg
SOURCE: World Society for the Protection of Animals
For further information: images and interview enquiries please contact: Elizabeth Sharpe, Communications Director for World Animal Protection Canada at [email protected] or 416 369 0044 x111