The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act 2023 bans domestic adverts for brutal animal-related tourism practices across the world. The Act has a global reach and holds out the possibility of real help for numerous species suffering in tourism.

Save The Asian Elephants has devised and pioneered for 8 years momentous measures that have resulted in major world-first legislation that aims to replace brutal tourism exploitation with ethical practices and genuine sanctuaries and wildlife reserves.

1. Why is law needed?

Many holidaymakers are unaware that every year millions of animals are exploited, harmed and killed in tourism across the world. Much of the brutality threatens the survival of the planet’s most iconic species – elephants, apes, big cats, bears, dolphins, ostriches and exotic birds as well as vulnerable horses, donkeys, camels and many others. This brutal exploitation takes place across numerous countries around the globe, all for tourism “fun” and profits. Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) has identified over 1,200 companies in the UK who profit from advertising nearly 300 brutal elephant venues alone. This growing market of abuse reflects the lack of any effective regulation. Law with proper enforcement and penalties is crucial while there is still time remaining for many highly endangered species. 

2. How will the new Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act help animals?

The Act prohibits travel companies from selling or advertising attractions or activities abroad which inflict low standards of welfare on any vertebrate animals that would be unlawful if the activity was happening in England and N Ireland. We hope that Scotland and Wales will soon enact similar legislation and we are working for that now. The Act is also important because it’s measures can be adopted by many other countries where markets in unscrupulous animal-tourism flourish.

3. Which animals will the new law help?

Numerous species across every corner of the world will benefit. Take Asian elephants – complex, majestic and ecologically crucial “megagardeners of the forests” which they nourish and sustain. Their sad fate in tourism is to be snatched as babies from the wild, their defensive mothers killed in front of them, isolated and starved for weeks, then beaten, ripped with hooks and screamed at till their “spirits break” (called Pajan). One half die in the process. Their remaining lives are endured often in extreme violence, deprivation and despair.

Add to the list baby monkeys enslaved from the forests to a life of selfies and profile pics, tiger cubs just photo props then drugged and chained for life in tiny cages, “walking with lions” later sold on for “canned hunting”, dolphins and orcas in tiny featureless pools till death, ostriches seriously injured and in great pain by being ridden – all amongst those to gain from this law whose ultimate goal is to steer the market towards ethical tourism.

4. When will the new law take effect?

The Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) must now use its powers under the new Act to draw up a list of activities to be prohibited by the Act. It will then be an offence for someone to sell or advertise an activity abroad that appears on Defra’s list, such as elephant rides. Defra will consult with stakeholders including animal welfare groups. STAE is helping co-ordinate numerous groups to ensure the best submissions and evidence are presented to Defra to help as many abused animals as possible, and to do all we can to ensure time is not lost.

5. How can I help?

It’s thanks to huge public backing by many millions for STAE’s campaign that we have this new law. Polls and petitions conducted by STAE show over 90% of the British people back these measures. Government, Parliament across party divides and the media have also played their part. We are asking Defra to move quickly to draw up a list of animal-related tourism activities abroad that cannot be sold or advertised domestically. If they do not move quickly we will ask supporters to contact their MPs and Defra urging speedy action so that the new law can rapidly take effect.

Please also support STAE using the links below. We so need your help!