Animal welfare abroad

YouGov
August 07, 2012, 4:24 PM UTC

52% Brits would be put off from visiting a country again if they saw an animal being mistreated

Over half of British adults say that if they were on holiday abroad and saw an animal being mistreated it would put them off visiting that country again, our poll shows, with over a quarter of people who have holidayed abroad saying that they have been concerned for an animal's welfare when taking part in activities such as a camel safari or horse ride.

  • 52% of British adults said that they would be put off from visiting a country again if they saw an animal being mistreated
  • Over one in five British adults (22%) have seen animals being mistreated when on holiday overseas, but over three-quarters of these holidaymakers (77%) made no attempt to report the most recent incident of mistreatment that they saw
  • The majority of these holidaymakers (71%) said they had seen animals used in the tourism industry mistreated

The survey, for international animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), also found that over a quarter (28%) of British adults who have been on holiday abroad have taken part in an animal-related activity such as a camel safari or horse and carriage ride where they have been concerned for the welfare of the animals involved.

As millions of Britons prepare for their summer holidays, SPANA has launched an ethical animal tourism guide and is encouraging tourists to do their homework before going on animal activities abroad.

'Using spending power'

SPANA supporter and Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is supporting the charity’s efforts.

"I’m absolutely appalled that so many people are seeing animals used in the tourism industry being mistreated when on holiday abroad," she said.  

"As a self-proclaimed nation of animal lovers we need to stop animals used in the tourism industry suffering for the sake of our enjoyment by following advice from animal charities like SPANA."

To help holidaymakers pick animals that appear healthy for treks, tours or rides, SPANA’s ethical animal tourism guidelines include what signs of animal mistreatment to look out for such as malnourishment and wounds around the saddle, noseband and harness. 

SPANA veterinary advisor Laura Higham said: "For many holidaymakers, activities like a camel ride through the desert or a sightseeing horse and carriage tour can be a once in a lifetime experience.  However as the survey has demonstrated, many tourists are seeing working animals such as donkeys, horses and camels being mistreated. 

"SPANA wants British holidaymakers to know that they are in a unique position to use their spending power to change animal welfare for the better.  By choosing animal tour providers who appear to treat their animals with kindness and respect, this in turn will encourage other owners to do the same."

See more information on SPANA’s ethical animal tourism advice at www.spana.org/tourism

See the survey details and full results here