Instagranimal: Animal Welfare and Animal Ethics Challenges of Animal-Based Tourism
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Animals of countless species, wild as well as tame, can now entertain tourists on their holidays. The popularity, however, of animal-based tourism comes with significant risks for the welfare of these animals. Many animals are kept in small confinements, are broken down to interact obediently with tourists, or are made to perform, entertain, transport or even give their lives for human leisure. In this paper, the challenges of animal-based tourism are presented from the perspectives of interdisciplinary researchers. The challenges are discussed based on a two-day symposium with workshop sessions. We bring attention to the problem of cultural relativism and the difficulty of imposing universal standards of animal welfare. We conclude that reforms and individual travel decisions as a result of biosecurity concerns will impact animal welfare. In addition to this, we observe that technology has a dual role to play in enhancing edutainment but also potentially inviting new challenges. In the end, we declare some possibilities for compassionate animal based tourism.