A group of visitors touching and photographing elephants

The Animals Low-Welfare Activities Abroad Bill is one step closer to becoming law


The Bill has sailed through its committee stage in the House of Lords – we are getting closer to banning the domestic sale and advertisement of animal experiences abroad.

On 5th September, we were delighted to see the Bill sail through committee stage with no proposed changes – this is welcome news and shows that politicians from all parties want this Bill to become legislation as soon as possible.

The Bill, being taken through the House of Lords by Lord Black of Brentwood, would make it illegal for travel companies in England and Northern Ireland to sell and advertise cruel animal activities that take place abroad.

This Bill must pass

There are an estimated 550,000 wild animals suffering for tourist entertainment around the world. Activities marketed to UK tourists include elephant rides and washing, dolphin shows and swim-with-dolphin experiences.

In order to train wild animals, they are often subjected to cruel training techniques such as beatings, coercive control, withholding of food to learn tricks, and being conditioned to carry out unnatural behaviours. We must stop UK tourists, often unknowingly, funding this cruelty. We must stop travel companies, such as TUI, profiting from animal exploitation.

A lone dolphin in a tank

Children want change

Tourists often go to dolphin shows because they are considered a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ and ‘a chance to make memories of a lifetime’. But what if a memory of a lifetime is in fact a lifetime of suffering for these highly intelligent animals?

There are over 3000 dolphins in captivity worldwide. In the wild, dolphins can swim 100 km a day; the average tank size is over 200,000 times smaller than their natural home range. This is cruel and inhumane.

Dolphins are often made to perform unnatural tricks in exchange for food and made to interact with tourists which can be highly stressful for them. Tanks are often barren to allow visitors to have a better view, which results in little mental stimulation for these natural marine predators and there is nowhere for them to retreat from unwanted interaction.

According to a 2023 Censuswide poll, 50% of parents stated that they visited a dolphin attraction because they thought their child would enjoy it.

We’re pleased to say this is the opposite of what children* want.

The polling also showed that:

🐬 86%would prefer to see dolphins in their natural habitat in the sea rather than a captive venue*
🐬 49% of children thought the tanks were too small*
🐬 Only 13% of children did not think that dolphin entertainment is cruel

Comments from the children when describing their concerns about dolphin shows include:

  • ‘Dolphins are too smart to be in cages and have to do silly things’
  • ‘It is cruel, where is the family?’
  • ‘They might want to explore’
  • ‘They should be with their friends’
  • ‘They might force them to do tricks’
  • ‘Should be in the sea’
  • ‘It's sad to see them suffer’

*Children polled were a nationally representative sample aged between 8-16 years
*Combining answer options ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree

A visitor can be seen swimming with a captive dolphin for entertainment

Lord Black said of the results:

‘A five-minute holiday thrill swimming with dolphins or watching a show condemns them to a lifetime of suffering. This polling shows that young people do not support animal exploitation. We must listen to them and stop travel companies profiting from their suffering. The government must ban the domestic sales and advertisement of dolphin entertainment abroad.’

How you can help

We can all play our part in stopping cruel animal entertainment. Low welfare wildlife attractions and animal experiences abroad are promoted and sold widely by mainstream travel companies in the UK.

By selling and promoting these venues, companies such as TUI Group, AttractionTickets.com, GetYourGuide, Jet2holidays, and Trip.com, are profiting from animal exploitation and fuelling the problem.

Each time they sell a ticket, they make money, and the cruelty continues. We urge travellers not to book holidays with companies that sell or advertise cruel animal experiences abroad.

Our Real Responsible Traveller Report assesses 9 of the most influential travel businesses in the UK or global tourism industry and highlights which ones are still failing wildlife by selling exploitative experiences abroad.

Read the real Responsible Traveller Report

A visitor is riding an elephant for entertainment purposes

We will continue to update you on the progress of this Bill

Wild animals deserve the right to a wild life, free from suffering. They are not ours to exploit.  For more information on how to make wildlife friendly choices when travelling.

Read our full report here

Image credits: Body image 1: Jo-Anne McArthur

There are an estimated 550,000 wild animals suffering for tourist entertainment around the world

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