A closeup of an elephant's eye.

Great news for the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill


Today is a massive victory for wild animals suffering for tourist entertainment as the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passed its final stage!

The Bill will prohibit the sale and the advertisement in England and Northern Ireland of low-welfare animal activities which take place abroad.

What does it mean for animals?

Every year companies such as TUI, Jet2 and GetYourGuide sell and advertise wild animal entertainment, such as swim-with-dolphin experiences and elephant interactions, and profit from animal exploitation. This new law will stop travel companies advertising and selling tickets for cruel and demeaning animal activities that are deemed ‘low welfare’ to customers in England and Northern Ireland. This is a massive step forward in ending the suffering of the 550,000 animals trapped in animal entertainment worldwide.

This legislation will only apply to England and Northern Ireland, however we hope that the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales will introduce similar legislation.

Which low welfare animal activities will be included in the legislation?

Now the Bill has passed all stages, the Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs will decide which activities will be covered by the Bill. These will be decided following a consultation. Low-welfare activities that could be covered by the Bill are tiger cub selfies, elephant interactions, swim-with-dolphin experiences and shows at captive dolphin venues.

Dolphin entertainment must be covered by the Bill

There are over 3000 dolphins suffering for entertainment worldwide. Dolphins are highly intelligent animals with complex needs, which can never be replicated in captivity. In the wild they travel between 35 to 140 miles in a day and dive from 500 to 1000m deep – tanks are 200,000 times smaller than their natural home range and can never replicate these conditions.

A lone dolphin in a tank

Dolphin entertainment is cruel and demeaning. Behind this ‘tourist entertainment’ is a much darker reality – dolphins can be deprived of food to learn tricks and exposed to loud music throughout the shows, which is extremely distressing.

It is important to remember that there has not been a dolphin venue in the UK for 30 years, the last venue having closed in March 1993. This is because the new regulations to keep dolphins in the UK were so stringent that operators were unable to meet the requirements. While we no longer have dolphin venues in the UK, thousands of British tourists visit dolphin attractions abroad.

If we do not allow cruel dolphin entertainment in the UK, we must not support it abroad. Dolphin entertainment must be covered by the bill, tour operators must not be able to fuel this suffering by selling and advertising tickets to dolphin venues in England and Northern Ireland.

We’ll let you know about the next steps and how you can help.

Image credits: Body image: Jo-Anne McArthur

Make a difference. Join our community.

We campaign to improve animals' lives in the UK and around the world. Why not join us today?

Join us to end animal cruelty

More about