There is a strong link between tourism and animals, whether in zoos, marine parks, or on safari. Tourists encounter animals in many different situations: photo opportunities, street performances, animal rides and specialised ‘sanctuaries’ such as elephant homes and tiger temples. Tourism may benefit wildlife, by funding wildlife animal conservation, as well as providing vital income for local communities, but the exploitation of animals in animal entertainment can be a cruel and degrading experience for intelligent sentient creatures.
Veterinarians, committed to working for the health and welfare of animals, need to know about the issues surrounding tourism and welfare, and the science and the evidence concerning these welfare issues. It is also essential to understand the culture and relationships between animals and their keepers in the destinations. Meanwhile, in the tourist industry, animal welfare issues
can have a strong influence on a person’s choice of holiday, a fact that is appreciated by animal welfare NGOs.
This symposium brings together experts from both the tourism and veterinary worlds to examine the science, economics and welfare issues involved in the use of animals in tourism, and to discuss how animal welfare in tourist settings can be improved. It comprises presentations from recognised experts and a panel discussion chaired by Maria Diez-Leon from the Royal Veterinary College. It will be followed by a networking reception, where you can meet the speakers and discuss the issues.