International veterinary charity SPANA is encouraging holidaymakers to do their homework before travelling abroad this year to help working animals used in the tourism industry.
Across the world thousands of donkeys, horses, mules and camels are used to transport tourists on excursions; but despite their relentless hard work, many holidaymakers report seeing these animals neglected, poorly treated and abused by their owners.
To help improve the welfare of these animals, SPANA has launched the Holiday Hooves Guide to provide tourists with simple tips on how to choose animals that appear healthy for excursions abroad like donkey rides, horse-and-carriage tours and camel safaris.
The responsible tourism advice also includes information on how people can report animal mistreatment to country tourism boards and lobby for animal welfare legislation.
A YouGov* survey commissioned by the charity last year found that one in five (22%) British adults who have been on holiday abroad have seen animals mistreated when overseas. Of those, the most common animals people reported seeing mistreated were donkeys (45%) and horses (35%).
SPANA’s veterinary programme advisor Laura Higham said: “Every year we receive countless letters from distressed tourists who have seen donkeys, horses or camels mistreated or worked in a poor condition abroad.
“We know that as a nation of animal lovers this experience can ruin people’s holidays, especially if they’ve used an animal for an excursion and then realised it’s in need of veterinary treatment. To help tourists choose animals that appear healthy we’re urging them to read our Holiday Hooves Guide before they travel.
“We’re also calling on veterinary practices to promote our advice to their clients where they can.”
To download or order a free copy of SPANA’s Holiday Hooves Guide, visit www.spana.org/tourism.