The new Animal Welfare Act Low Welfare Activities Abroad came into effect in the UK and Northern Ireland on Monday 18th September 2023. This new law is hoped to cause a shift in the tourist industry at large in relation to the treatment of animals within tourism destinations.
The Act prohibits travel firms based in the UK and Northern Ireland from selling and/or advertising certain activities that involve close encounters with animals such as riding on the backs of elephants.
The Act prohibits the sale and advertising of specific activities involving close encounters with animals outside the UK.
The legislation cites that organisations keeping captive animals within tourist attractions must:
Provide a suitable environment.
Provide a suitable diet.
Allow the animals to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
Allow any need an animal has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
Be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
We hope this new law will put a spotlight on the conditions animals are kept in within tourist attractions, and encourage people to consider the implications of animal welfare in relation to their choices of which tourist destinations featuring captive animals they choose to visit.