Dutch travel trade association announces new guidelines to protect wildlife

09 February 2016

We have helped Dutch travel trade association, ANVR, launch brand new animal welfare guidelines that will help end elephant rides and other cruel wildlife attractions for good.

ANVR represents more than 280 tour operators and will now start helping all of them enforce these guidelines in their businesses. The guidelines are a huge step forward for wildlife protection. Almost all wildlife entertainment practices are now deemed ‘unacceptable’ by ANVR and their tour operators should not offer or support these activities any longer.

Advisory role

Over the past two years as part of a working group, we have assisted the ANVR in drafting both the animal welfare guidelines and the training. Both were presented as part of the ANVR’s Better holiday programme at the Dutch Travel Fair (Vakantiebeurs) in January.

We were there to provide workshops for tour operators and introduce them to the guidelines. With our help they will learn why taking responsibility for animals in tourism is important to them, not just to prevent animal cruelty and protect animals in the wild, but also to advance their business.

Leading the way

The ANVR is not the first travel association that has set animal welfare guidelines for its members. ABTA, UK’s travel association, launched their ‘Global Guidance for Animals in Tourism’ in 2013. ANVR used the ABTA guidelines as a basis, but extended the list with ‘unacceptable practices’, now also including:

  • Elephant rides and other activities that involve direct interaction with elephants
  • Walking with lions, tigers or any other wild cats
  • The use of wildlife as photo props in any way, such as selfies

Julie Middelkoop, the Head of our Wildlife - not entertainers campaign, said, “The ANVR animal welfare guidelines are not just important for setting higher welfare standards and raising awareness among Dutch tour operators. They are a great example for travel trade associations all over the world. They will look at what the ANVR has done and hopefully use these guidelines when setting their own. We will be there to help them when they do.

“We are raising awareness among travel stakeholders and tourists and working towards reducing the demand for cruel wildlife attractions such as elephant rides or ‘be-a-mahout’ activities. We want to end this cruel industry so tourists are able to experience wildlife in their natural habitats where the animals are free to express their natural behaviour.”

Wildlife. Not entertainers

Recently the tragic death of a British tourist at an elephant attraction in Thailand brought the industry into the media spotlight. And just last week we launched the most comprehensive global report to date on the cruelty that up to 550,000 wild animals, like elephants, around the world are suffering.

More than 250,000 people around the world have already joined us to call on the travel industry to change. Read the report and join our movement today to protect wildlife.

"The ANVR animal welfare guidelines are not just important for setting higher welfare standards and raising awareness among Dutch tour operators. They are a great example for travel trade associations all over the world."

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