As the festive season gets started in Bali, over one million tourists are packing their bags and getting ready to jet off to paradise.
With many of Bali’s top attractions featuring animals as entertainment, an animal welfare organization is calling on tourists to make wise decisions when it comes to where they visit and if they interact with animals.
Four Paws Australia has urged tourists heading to Bali in the coming weeks, months, and years to prioritize animal welfare when planning their activities and day trips.
While many organizations in Bali claim to offer sanctuary to animals or the highest welfare conditions, investigations have found quite the opposite to be true.
The majority of animals used in Bali’s tourism sector are at risk of exploitation.
Activities like taking selfies with elephants, tigers, orangutans, and other primates have all been identified as dangerous to both humans and animals by leading wildlife specialists over the last decade and as harmful to the health and well-being of the animals themselves.
Speaking to reporters, the National Director of Four Paws Australia, Rebecca Linigen, called on tourists to make responsible decisions during their time in Bali. She said, “We encourage everyone to appreciate the beauty of the island.”
Adding “but we also want to share guidance on how to make small but impactful changes to protect a multitude of animals while holidaying in Bali.”
As an animal welfare organization, Four Paws Australia has created a whole set of guidelines to help tourists avoid supporting facilities with poor welfare standards for their animals.
The NGO calls for tourists not to take part in any activities that involve feeding, touching, or holding animals. Tourists are also asked to avoid elephant shows, bathing elephants, and riding elephants.
Linigen told reporters, “Ethical animal tourism venues will be transparent about their practices, won’t encourage direct contact with animals, and won’t allow any breeding, trading, or hunting of animals.”
Four Paws Australia has been in operation for 35 years and have been visiting Bali to check out the situation on the ground for a long time.
Their team has seen the treatment of the island’s animals from all angles. The NGO writes, “Across Bali, a number of places offering elephant rides call themselves ‘elephant sanctuaries’. – This often leads to the confusion of tourists believing their money is going to a good place.”
They state, “Officially regulated sanctuaries will never encourage excessive interaction between humans and animals like riding.”
The advice from Four Paws Australia echoes the findings of World Animal Protection’s 2023 investigation into the living conditions and welfare standards of animal tourism facilities across Bali and Lombok.
The intensive undercover investigation revealed that, by their criteria, there are no ethical animal tourism facilities in the two provinces.
The International Animal Welfare NGO launched a campaign called Holidays That Harm, designed to help inform tourists about how and why animal tourism is exploitative and how tourists can ensure they do not support unscrupulous venues.
World Animal Protections Head of Campaigns, Suzanne Milthorpe, called on animal lovers to avoid all tourist attractions in Bali that are home to animals on account of the investigation findings.
She told reporters, ‘What we found was no wildlife entertainment venue in Bali met good welfare standards for animals in captivity, and most didn’t even meet the basic needs.”
The investigation revealed that ten of the venues assessed during the undercover investigation included Mason Elephant Lodge, Bali Zoo, Bali Safari Marine Park, and Bali Exotic Marine Park all of which were categorized as wildlife entertainment venues and fell short of the top welfare standards World Animal Protection would be happy to support as animal-friendly.
Milthorpe reminded tourists that some facilities in Bali appear to be operating high welfare facilities but are in fact “masquerading” as sanctuaries or rescue facilities.
The full report is available on the World Animal Protection website, and the concluding statements are pretty damning.
The organization wrote in June 2023, “The conditions for wildlife in tourism venues in Bali and Lombok continue to be deeply concerning, with the welfare of many animals severely compromised and no substantial improvement evident since 2017.”
Remove All Ads & Unlock All Articles… Sign up for The Bali Sun Premium
Plan Your Bali Holiday:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most PropertiesBook Cheap Flights To Bali
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance That Covers Medical Expenses In Bali
For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community
SUBSCRIBE TO NEW POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.