Compassionate travel: our advice

There are simple, practical steps you can take on holiday to prevent animals suffering

What to avoid

Before you travel, ask if your tour operator has a policy on animal protection – and encourage them to introduce one if they don’t. And once you’re away, help to protect animals by following these practical tips:

  • Wild animals belong in the wild. If you do want to see animals when you travel, observe them in their natural habitat
  • Avoid cockfights, bullfights and any festivals or celebrations that cause suffering to animals – culture isn’t an excuse for cruelty
  • Stay away from local cuisine made from wild or endangered animals – or made using inhumane methods
  • Think carefully about visiting zoos. Many keep animals in poor conditions and allow tourist to handle animals – which causes unnecessary stress Zoos that are serious about conservation should have humane breeding programmes, designed to release animals into the wild
  • Avoid paying to have your photo taken with a wild animal. These animals are often taken from the wild, with adult animals sometimes killed in the process. It’s also common for animals to be drugged or cruelly trained, or for them to have teeth removed, to prevent tourists being harmed 
  • Stay away from attractions involving captive marine mammals like whales and dolphins – these are unnatural and stressful for the animals
  • Avoid souvenirs made from wild animals, including all fur, ivory, shells, seahorses, teeth, rhino horn and turtle shell products
  • Avoid riding wild animals, such as elephants. These animals are often captured from the wild, treated poorly and trained using inhumane methods.

By following these simple tips, you are helping to move the world to protect animals and keeping wild animals where they belong - in the wild.

Standards of animal care at tourist attractions vary greatly, but you can take action to prevent animals suffering

What you can do

If you see an animal being treated cruelly, make a note of the date, time and location, and of the type and number of animals involved. Photos and videos provide powerful evidence, but avoid paying to take them.

It’s vital to make a complaint locally, so report what you’ve seen to:

  • Local tourist offices
  • Local police
  • Local animal welfare organisations
  • Your tour operator
  • The zoo or aquarium (if that’s where abuse is taking place)
  • The national zoo association (if you have serious concerns)

Back a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare and help us protect animals across the world.

Tell the world:

And when you return home, contact the country’s embassy, local politicians, or the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (if that’s relevant to your complaint). The more noise you make, the more likely it is that you’ll make a direct contribution to preventing animal cruelty.

Check out our work to end caged civet coffee production.