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Write to your MP asking for Animal Welfare in Tourism Abroad

Please write to your MP as a matter of urgency to draw attention to the loophole in UK animal welfare law which allows UK tour companies to profit from abusive practices abroad.

Please feel free to use our template email. The chances are your MP is not aware that UK tour companies are profiting from such outdated practices and will be horrified to learn of this news. It is more important than ever that the government steps in to regulate animal welfare standards for tour companies, now that China is opening to UK and European markets and has zero animal welfare legislation. Please let us know your MPs response.

Dear …………..

The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the act of UK tour companies profiting from animal practices abroad that are banned in the UK, and to politely demand action.

These barbaric practices include the capture of wild animals, the use of bullhooks on elephants, and a variety of violent methods used to restrain, control and punish animals. Such acts have been banned in the UK for decades, yet members of The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), such as Thomas Cook and TUI, are already promoting holidays to China, a country quickly becoming a tourist hotspot with a clear history of animal abuse.

China has zero animal welfare legislation and as a result, the captive beings can be treated cruelly and kept in severely inhumane ways; some experts liken conditions in China to the extremely poor conditions of the UK in the 60s. Take Thomas Cook, to highlight a specific example: They are promoting a new contract with Sanya Atlantis Hotel. Sanya Atlantis has developed a new marine captivity installation where they have acquired their dolphins and whales directly from the horrific captures in Taiji and Russia.

The captures in Taiji must become a thing of the past; dolphins are herded into a cove by fishermen with boats and nets. Here, families are separated forever as individuals are killed or captured. The surrounding ocean turns red with blood as the cetaceans are speared and drowned. Last season alone, 614 dolphins were slaughtered, while 106 dolphins were captured for sale – the cetaceans are held in pens, waiting to be sold like objects. The dolphins stolen from their home are then transported to marine parks across the country, increasingly so to China.

Captures are also occurring in Russia, where 15 orcas and more than 200 belugas were captured and sold to oceanariums in China over the past five years (July 2018). Not only are these captures cruel and barbaric, they are also incredibly unsustainable and give rise to criminal groups operating with no welfare standards.

There may be up to three marine parks within two hours of each other, with specific parts of China becoming increasingly populated with SeaWorld-like parks. Hainan is an island currently undergoing major tourist development, with the support of UK tour companies aiming to open up this area to the European market. There are already eight marine life parks open or under construction here, the equivalent of eight SeaWorlds within an area comparable to the state of Maryland. These parks will contain captured dolphins, beluga whales, orcas, and a vast range of other marine animals.

Many of the tourists who visit such attractions may not realise the cruelty involved, and may, understandably, be under the impression that because they are endorsed and sold by British companies they conform to high animal welfare standards and are sustainable ecologically. Sadly, this is rarely the case. These UK tour companies get away with such practices due to the lack of UK regulation; they have been left to themselves and are exploiting the lack of animal welfare laws abroad in order to make profits.

We are raising awareness and are asking the government to take action. Our petition can be signed by UK residents and it calls upon parliament to take action with respect to tour companies. We have been and will continue to share this petition until we are heard, and until Britain is no longer party to these inhumane and outdated practices.

I firmly believe that as our local MP, you would support a bill in parliament that, when passed, would require tour companies to adhere to welfare standards that align with those of the UK.

We are asking you to reply to this letter informing us of your support regarding the potential proposition of a bill. We need your help to support our petition, and ask parliament to implement animal welfare standards for ABTA.

We can succeed in making a difference as to international animal welfare, but we need your help to ensure the UK is leading the way in this wave of change!


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