There’s nothing better than booking a well-deserved holiday and getting the opportunity to experience parts of the world that you’ve never seen before. Travelling can be one of life’s biggest pleasures, but it is important to respect the countries you visit and their culture, and make sure you follow any laws they have in place.
What’s great for us explorers to know is that many countries have animal welfare laws in place to make sure the animals in their country stay protected and away from any unnecessary harm. Knowing a countries views and beliefs on animal welfare before visiting a country can help you make conscious decisions on what activities and events you plan on doing to ensure they don’t harm wildlife or breach any laws in place. It also means that you can plan trips to destinations that you know value and respect animals lives as much as we do.
Animal welfare laws vary depending on where you plan to visit but some of the most highly rated countries for animal welfare include Austria, Switzerland, Kenya, India and Tanzania. Keep reading to find out more about animal rights and regulations laws in each country and how the animals are protected.
Austria is one of the strictest countries when it comes to animal welfare laws. In fact, the Austrian Animal Welfare Act 2004 suggests that animal protection should be held to a value that is equal to humankind. That means all visitors must respect and acknowledge animals as fellow creatures.
The country has one of the highest ratings for animal welfare and prohibits the act of suffering and unjustified pain on animals, which means harm to animals without reasoning, such as farming, is strictly prohibited. Experimentations and testing on chimpanzees and gorillas are also banned in Austria and has breach penalties of fines, imprisonment of up to one year, and personal bans on keeping animals. But it doesn’t stop there. Even household animals such as cats, dogs and rabbits even have protection laws in place. For example, the Anti Cruelty Law bans pet owners from cropping their dogs’ ears or tails. Puppies and kittens are also not allowed to be showcased in shop windows to prevent uncomfortable living standards, such as small cages too. So, if you are travelling to Austria, then you can take comfort in knowing that the animals are a priority and protected.
Switzerland received an ‘A’ grade for animal welfare from the World Animal Protection organisation back in 2014, which means it’s one of the best countries in the world when it comes to protecting animals. The country prohibits both the suffering and harm of animals without justification, meaning causing harm without having the right farming or food manufacturing rights is illegal. The country uses laws that, if breached, results in a ban on keeping, breeding or trading animals. But it’s not just wild animals that are protected in Switzerland, as many pets are protected by these laws too. It is illegal to mistreat farm animals, conduct animal testing of any kind, use barking inhibitors, harm stray dogs and part social animals. Social animals that must be kept in pairs include, guinea pigs and rabbits, which means you’d be breaking the law and potentially face a prison sentence if you only bought one rabbit, as an example, to keep as a pet!
Cats are also classed as solo pets in Switzerland, which means by law they must have daily interaction with humans or be able to access other cats to remain socialised. And that’s not all, Swiss laws also require all dogs to be microchipped and registered to ensure owners hold accountability for their ownership and cannot get away with mistreating their pet.
In Kenya, the prevention of animal cruelty law has made a variety of acts illegal. From public exhibitions that keep animals confined in small spaces, to animal fighting and sport hunting, the country is one of the best for protecting animals against neglect and abuse for entertainment purposes.
Kenya has its own society in place to help protect the welfare of animals: Kenya Society for the Protection & Care of Animals. The KSPCA is the only animal welfare charity in Kenya and was created over 100 years ago. The organisation strives to educate younger generations on animal welfare. In that, they rescue over 40 dogs and cats each month and are a big contribution to the overall development of animal protection in Kenya. The KSPCA note that while they have still got a long way to go, in the last twenty years they have seen a positive change in attitudes towards animals from both visitors and residents.
Researching your planned activities and making note of the animal protection laws in place is encouraged to ensure that you do not accidentally end up as a spectator to any entertainment that includes animal cruelty. You can find out more about responsible tourism in Kenya here.
India is another country with strict provisions against animal cruelty. Citizens are held to a high standard of animal protection and must have compassion for all living creatures. It is a punishable offence to harm or abandon animals of any kind. The neglection of animals is also punishable by imprisonments of up to 3 months – this means that anyone who fails to provide animals with adequate shelter, water or food could face time behind bars.
There are multiple animal welfare organisations in India who campaign to protect the lives of all animals. These charities include People for Animals, Stray Relief, Animal Welfare and the Blue Cross. People for Animals is the largest non-government organisation in Kenya with a network of over 26 hospitals and 165 units. The animal welfare centres are located all over India and conduct rescue missions to influence government policies on animal welfare.
India is a popular tourist destination so it is especially important to be aware of the rules and regulations in place regarding animal welfare, particularly if you plan on taking part in any wildlife tours. The use of animals for entertainment in circus acts is banned but there are plenty of ethical entertainment venues that showcase their stunning array of wild animals if you’d like to see some animals during a visit.
The Tanzanian Animal Welfare Act states that humans have a duty of care to animals and that it is illegal to inflict any unnecessary harm upon them. The Animal Protection Act (2008) makes cruelty offenses such as torturing, beating, scaring or ill-treating punishable by law. And anyone caught carrying out acts such as the above could face hefty fines or even time in prison.
Tanzania has a vast variety of wildlife and ethical tours that allows you to get up close and personal with animals in their habitats. There are, however, strict rules on remaining inside the tour cars and buggies at all times to ensure the animals aren’t disturbed or frightened in anyway. Organisations such as the African Wildlife Foundation focus on the protection of animals and their habitats. So, if you plan to travel to Tanzania and want to see some animals in their natural environments while you’re there, you can find out more about the experiences on offer here.
There are many organisations across the globe that campaign against animal cruelty. They work together for one main cause but each organisation has a different set of values that they work towards. For example, some work to fight animal testing while others campaign to provide stray animals with shelter. Below are some UK based charities with a mission to end cruelty against animals:
The World Animal Protection organisation is a charity that has been campaigning to protect animals from needless suffering for more than 50 years. They originally formed in the 1950’s as the ‘World Federation for the Protection of Animals’, with a mission to help governments and communities protect and care for animals by being present during global debates on animal suffering. The charity also provides protection to animals at risk by supplying food, water, medical care and emergency assistance, as well as, where possible, evacuating animals from danger and reuniting animals and owners that have been separated. You can find out more about their mission here.
Other organisations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Animal Welfare Institute and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also have a mission to further the cause of animal welfare and strive to educate people on the cruelty and harm animals endure by working through public education, research, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement and protest campaigns. Compared to the other organisations mentioned, PETA also provide education on the benefits of veganism for animal welfare and the environment. You can read some of their recent work here.
Here at Alpha Travel Insurance, we strive to continue the progression of animal welfare and believe that all countries laws should be respected by tourists to help protect animals and the sustainable travel movement. As well as being advocates for sustainable travel, we are also partnered with The Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and frequently donate to the charity to help protect sea life and provide a bright future for these amazing animals. In fact, 10% of all policies bought with the code (WDCalpha) goes towards the WDC.
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