Throughout the world there are traditional activities which involve the participation or use of animals, and generally this means serious negative consequences against them or even their death. In most cases the presence of tourists at these festivities or exhibitions offers a great incentive towards the organisation of these events and, partly, means they will continue to be held because the travellers are unaware of how the animals are affected.
As for local festivities, the clearest case is probably bullfighting and bull running, which still take place in the present day in Spain, Portugal, France, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. There are 16,000 festivities of this type organised each year in Spain alone. “San Fermin” is one of the most popular festivals in the Iberian peninsula and is held each July in the city of Pamplona. Each year it receives a large number of tourists, half of which are foreigners. The tourists are generally unaware that the “encierros” end each year with the killing of the 48 bulls used during the festivities.
As well as local festivals, there are other types of traditional tourist offers which mean big trouble for animals. Such is the case for snake charmers, which can be found in countries like India and Morocco. Each year thousands of snakes are poached becoming one of the main reasons for their disappearance.
Another similar case is that of the dancing bears which can still be seen in some tourist areas in Eastern European countries, India and Pakistan. These animals are usually caught in the wild, while they are still cubs, so that their teeth and claws can be removed and a metal nose ring can be inserted. This will allow the “carers” to control them through pain, so that, from the movements they make, the tourists get the impression that the animals are dancing.
There is a long list of traditional activities –from a cultural, religious or food point of view– which involve the use of animals. Before visiting any country it is essential to find out about their real implications.
At the state level
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