Adapted from article written by by EUToday Correspondents
Originally published by EU Today (Wed, 20 Sep, 2023)
The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act passed into UK law this week.
The legislation – which was introduced by Angela Richardson MP and Lord Black of Brentwood, supported by the government – allows the government to bring forward a ban on the advertising and sale of specific unethical activities abroad where animals are kept in captivity or confinement, subjected to cruel and brutal training methods, forced to take selfies or are ridden, drugged and de-clawed.
The independent evidence on these kind of experiences shows that animals used in the tourist trade are often subject to harsh treatment to ensure their compliance in activities. A study by Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit published in 2015 concluded that up to 550,000 animals worldwide suffered for tourist entertainment.
Brutal training methods are often used to ‘break in’ Asian elephants to make them safe to be near tourists and partake in unnatural activities like playing football, painting, tourist rides and excessive bathing.
The Act – applicable in England and Northern Ireland – means the government, through secondary legislation, can ban the advertising and offering for sale of these cruel experiences and protect these special creatures from unnecessary harm.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) already has published guidelines and a list of activities which they classify as unacceptable. Reputable and responsible tour operators should not be offering activities that support poor animal welfare.
This new legislation is part of a wider Government effort to build on our existing world-leading animal welfare standards. Since publishing the Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021 we have brought in new laws to recognise animals sentience, introduced tougher penalties for animal cruelty offences, brought forward a ban on glue traps, and introduced tougher penalties for hare coursing.