Don't Buy Animal Abuse: Boycott These Tourist Attractions

Don't Buy Animal Abuse: Boycott These Tourist Attractions

"Every time you spend money,

you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."

anna lappe


Sometimes animal and wildlife tourist attractions are disguised as natural, helpful, or worse - as conservation, when in reality they're just masked exploitation and mistreatment, and even animal-loving tourists may not be aware of the underlying misery involved, and unknowingly pay for and support cruel practices. 


Simply put - if humans are involved and there's a profit to be made - it's bad news for animals. 


If you're interacting with wild animals in anywhere other than the actual wild or a reputable sanctuary or rescue, then the sad truth is that animal abuse is likely involved because the animals there have been captured, separated from their families, held captive, usually forced to perform unnatural activities, and given the minimum amount of care to keep them alive. And, all too often, not even that. 


Here are the animal tourist attractions to avoid like the plague. 

(Which a lot of them do actually carry.)


Also: common animal abuses such as eating or using body parts and fishing or hunting are not included on this list because they obviously directly cause pain and death. Same goes for all the local touristy 'delicacies' like eating insects, seahorses, duck embryos, snake hearts, shark fin soup, guinea pigs, frog legs, tiger wine, or any other body parts or fluids that people put in their mouths. It's not cool, it's cruel.


If you care about animals, here is what NOT to do.

don't take tiger selfies

tiger selfies

Cubs are stolen from their families, kept confined in tiny cages, endure abuse and neglect, and are drugged to be used as photo props so tourists can pose to take photos with them. 

more: Here's Why You Should Never Take A Selfie With A Tiger



don't walk with lions

walking with lions

Stolen lion cubs are confined, drugged for photos, then when they grow up and can't be released, they're used yet again to be walked  on leashes, and often go on to be shot for sport in canned hunts.

more: Tourists are killing Africa's lions one selfie at a time


don't support dancing monkeys

dancing monkeys

Monkeys are captured, chained, starved, beaten, and often have their teeth pulled out, all to force them to perform tricks or beg tourists for money.

more: Animals Used for Entertainment



don't support orangutan boxing

orangutan boxing

As if habitat loss due to destruction of the rainforest for palm oil wasn't enough, young orangutans are also kidnapped, mistreated, and then forced to perform tricks for tourists such as boxing. 

more: Cruel Orangutan ‘Boxing’ is a Thing


don't support bear parks

bear parks

Bears are abducted and forced to live in unnatural, overcrowded conditions for tourism that cause stress, fighting, injuries and death. It's important to only visit bears in reputable, humane sanctuaries. 

more: Volunteering with Asian Sun Bears


don't cuddle koalas

cuddling koalas

Koala bears are kept captive, mistreated, and forced to interact with humans, causing them extreme stress and trauma.

more: Please don’t cuddle the koalas




don't hug sloths

hugging sloths

Sloths are confined in small cages which causes them to fight with and injure each other. Sloth bears are also kidnapped for the pet trade and are often abused and killed. 

more: Famous Sloth Sanctuary Is A Nightmare For Animals



don't visit tarsiers

visiting tarsiers

Tarsiers are tiny primates that are endangered due to habitat destruction,  hunters, pet trade and tourist attractions, where they're often kept in in poor conditions, so it's important to visit them a certified humane sanctuary.

more: Why You Should Avoid Loboc Tarsier Conservation Area in Bohol


don't support civet coffee

civet coffee

Asian palm civets are captured from the wild, confined in small cages, deprived of their natural diets, and instead fed coffee cherries to poop out so tourists can drink the coffee made from their feces called Kopi Luwak. 

more: The Disturbing Secret Behind the World’s Most Expensive Coffee


don't handle sea turtles

handling sea turtles

Don't touch or pick up sea turtles or try to 'assist' baby sea turtles getting to the sea. Sea turtle tourist attractions confine, mistreat and even kill the turtles. Tourists often harass turtles in the wild, causing harm, injury and death. 

more: How to see sea turtles without bothering them


don't go whale watching

whale watching

The boats used to take tourists out to sea disrupt whale's lives by interfering with their communication, breathing, feeding and reproduction. Familiarity of boats also makes them more susceptible to commercial hunting and whaling.

more: Is whale watching harmful to whales?


don't go shark cage diving

shark cage diving

Forced interaction with predators is unnatural as it is, but shark cage dives unnaturally chum the water with bait, which disrupts their diet and behavior.

more: Why I Won't Go Shark Cage Diving



don't swim with dolphins

swimming with dolphins

Dolphins are captured and confined to small tanks where they live in unnatural, unhealthy conditions, and are forced to perform tricks, instead of swimming 60 miles a day in the wild. And swimming with wild dolphins disrupts their feeding, breeding and resting.

more: The Disturbing Truth Behind Your Swim With The Dolphins

don't go swimming with whale sharks

swimming with whale sharks

Swimming with whale sharks disrupts their communication, feeding, nutrition, and migration patterns and they're often injured by boat propellers. 

more: Why We Choose Not to Swim With Whale Sharks in Cebu



don't go swimming with stingrays

swimming with stingrays

Swimming with stingrays affects their behavior and feeding patterns and causes them stress and weaker immune systems. They're also often injured by boats.

more: Stingrays suffering from contact with wildlife tourists



don't go swimming with manatees

swimming with manatees

Interacting with or touching manatees is not only wrong, it's illegal. Disturbing them can affect their natural feeding, safety and behavior. Also, boats.

more: Manatee Protection Tips for Divers and Swimmers



don't swim with pigs

swimming with pigs

Pigs are stranded on an island, living unnatural lives, have no proper food, fresh water, shelter or protection, are abused and sometimes killed by tourists, and also routinely killed by locals for population control.

more: Sadly, Pig Beach Isn’t Paradise for the Swimming Pigs


don't ride elephants

elephant riding

Baby elephants are kidnapped from their families and imprisoned to a life of torture where they are beaten into submission with barbaric instruments like large sharp steel hooks called bullhooks. And, they cry.

more: 4 Reasons Not to Ride Elephants in Thailand


don't ride camels

camel riding

Camels are mistreated and abused for rides and photos. They're chained, muzzled, beat with hooks, starved and tied together and riden, causing stress, painful joint diseases and arthritis, and also diseases from exposure.

more: Tourism and Animals Camel Rides


don't ride ostriches

ostrich riding

Ostriches cannot safely support the weight of humans and riding them is unnatural, painful and cruel to the birds kept captive just to be used. 

more: If You Love Animals Here Are 5 You Shouldn’t Ride



don't ride horses

horse riding

Riding horses, and donkeys, is also unnatural. The weight and pressure cause bone, joint and muscle stress, and the bits, whips and spurs cause pain and injury.

more: Is Horse Riding Cruel?



don't ride in horse-drawn carriages

horse-drawn carriages

Horses are forced to perform excruciating physical labor pulling carts in street traffic in extreme weather, and they're often worked to death, dropping dead on the job, and causing horrific accidents.

more: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Carriage Horse Industry


don't support horse racing

horse racing

Horses used for racing are whipped, beaten, drugged, shocked, and forced to perform in extreme physical activity during which they're often injured and frequently die in 'fatal breakdowns'.

more: 8 Things They Don’t Tell You About Horse Racing



don't support dog racing

dog racing

Dogs are confined to tiny cages, electrocuted, starved and forced to race in an industry that is rampant with abuse and neglect cases. Small animals are also often hung alive to train the dogs to run.

more: The Hidden Horror of Greyhound Racing


don't go dog mushing

dog mushing

Dogs in sledding and racing live tethered to boxes, are beaten, starved, drugged, exposed to the elements, forced into extreme physical pain, injuries and exhaustion, and are often either worked to death or routinely killed by their owners during 'cullings'.

more: Cruel dog training for Iditarod

don't support rodeos


Captive animals are used and abused for entertainment in rodeos in horse and bull riding, steer roping and wrestling, and calf roping, enduring mistreatments including tying bulls' testicles with rope (to make them buck), beating, shocking, injuries and death.

more: Rodeo Facts: The Case Against Rodeos

don't support jallikattu


A horrific Indian display of cruelty where bulls are purposefully frightened and then punched, kicked, stabbed with spears, and dragged on the ground.

more: FAQ on Jallikattu



don't run with the bulls

running with the bulls

Every year in Spain, 40,000 captive bulls are terrified, often set on fire, and shocked, causing them to endure injuries and broken bones, all before painful deaths in bullfights. 

more: Visitors to the Pamplona bull run have blood on their hands



don't support bull-fighting


In one of the most horrifically barbaric traditions still alive, bulls are led into an area where they are slowly bled and stabbed with lances, have their ears and tails cut off, spinal cords severed, and then slowly bleed out.

more: Bullfighting: A Tradition of Tragedy 


don't support cockfighting


A bloodsport in which birds are forced to fight in an inescapable pit with blades attached to their legs where they sustain injuries such as lacerations, punctured eyes and lungs, broken bones, and death.

more: Cockfighting 


don't support snake charming

kissing snakes

Snakes used in snake charming and snake kissing have their fangs are pulled out with pliers, venom ducts blocked or removed, and sometimes their mouths are sewn shut, and then they're starved so they're forced to come out for food. 

more: Underbelly: Why Moroccan snake charming isn’t what you think


don't get fish pedicures

fish pedicures

Garra rufa fish are trapped and deprived of a natural diet to the point of starvation so that they have no choice but to eat the dead skin off of feet. According to the CDC, the pedicures are breeding grounds for dangerous, resistant bacteria. 

more: Fish Pedicures: Dangerous and Cruel 


don't support aquariums or marine parks

aquariums & marine parks

Marine parks and aquariums capture and confine aquatic creatures to small, unnatural tanks where they suffer stress, overcrowding, disease, and death.

more: Wrong with Aquariums?



don't support pearl farming

pearl farms

Oysters trapped in pearl farms have their shells pried open to insert an irritant inside, which hurts them, so they secret the nacre coating to cover it, making a pearl, and the process is repeated until death.

more: Pearls: Cruelty Under the Sea


don't support crocodile farms

crocodile farms

Crocodile farms, who overbreed crocodiles for their flesh and hide, cause the crocs stress and injuries at the farm and then an agonizing death as they're cut open, spinal cords severed, skinned alive, and left to die. 

more: Alligator and Crocodile Farming and Tourism


don't support animal farms

livestock farms

Small farms that sell animal products like honey, eggs, oils, cheeses, or wools often offer tours, animal feedings, or petting zoos to lure tourists. If an animal is being used for it's body, then cruelty is inherently involved. Especially sheep.

more: Just Because It's a Small Farm Doesn't Mean It's Cruelty-Free


don't support zoos


Zoos confine wild animals in unnatural habitats, temperatures and enclosures causing them physical and mental stress and suffering. It's common for animals to sustain injuries and death, from disease, other animals, and even people.

more: Zoos: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone


photos: max pixel via creative commons 1.0

garra rufa, civet: wikipedia commons via creative commons 3.0

"We do not need to eat animals, wear animals, or use animals for entertainment purposes, and our only defense of these uses is our pleasure, amusement, and convenience."

gary francione vegan quotes