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Tourism - Traditions

Animals affected

Birds, Reptiles, Felines, Primates, Amphibians, Cetaceans, Equidae, Elephants, Bears, Wolves, Giraffes, Seals, Sea lions, Dromedaries, Camels






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.


Our action

At the state level

  • Through our project Responsible Tourism with Animals, at FAADA we raise awareness about the problems related to the use of animals in tourist activities.
  • We give talks in specialist universities.
  • We offer economic support to international sanctuaries of animals rescued from the tourist industry.
  • We offer specialist advice to companies in the sector and private travellers.

In 2016 the FAADA initiative had the support of 80 travel agencies and 200 travel bloggers. If you are a travel agency or a blogger from the tourism sector, we encourage you to get in touch with us to join the initiative.   

What can you do?

  • Find out what using wild animals in tourist attractions means and don’t take part in them.
  • Help us to spread awareness of our project and to sensitise more travellers. When booking a trip, do so with a travel agency which has signed the FAADA pledge for responsible companies.
  • If you would like to help animals and you are concerned about species conservation, visit a sanctuary. It is best not to pay to see animals in centres which keep them in captivity for profit or performing unnatural activities.
  • If you are a professional of the sector, ask us for advice about the ethical alternatives and sign our pledge.


Other sources

Responsible Tourism with Animals


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