The global corona pandemic shows the urgent need for action regarding our treatment of wildlife quite plainly. Wild animals are exploited in many ways, including for tourist attractions which are still very popular around the globe. From selfies with baby tigers to riding elephants and camels to dance performances by bears or hotel shows with parrots, “wildlife experiences” of all kinds are on offer. Not visible in the souvenir pictures, however, is the great animal suffering that is often associated with such activities.
Tourists are led to believe they're witnessing a peaceful co-existence of humans and animals. In reality, however, abusive practices are involved behind the scenes: cruel husbandry, shady origin of the animals – for some species from downright breeding industries – and brutal training methods with which the animals are made submissive. Wild animals are not adapted to the human environment. That is why the proximity to humans causes them considerable stress. Furthermore, these tourist attractions do not only take place at the expense of the well-being and dignity of the animals involved, but often also cause considerable problems with regards to species protection.