Dutch travel association to label interaction with dolphins as unacceptable

12/01/2021

The new year starts with exciting news for captive dolphins as the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR) launches their brand-new animal welfare guidelines. An important change is the advice to travel companies to stop offering or promoting attractions where dolphins and cetaceans do tricks or can be touched.

Not only is there a lot of animal suffering behind wildlife entertainment; the development of zoonoses and pandemics is also a direct consequence of our interaction with wild animals. 

These guidelines build on the first edition presented in 2016 and are a new landmark in ANVR's animal-friendly journey. With the updated advice, entertainment with dolphins and cetaceans, such as shows and swimming with these social and intelligent animals, is also labeled as unacceptable.  

Sanne Kuijpers, program manager at World Animal Protection: "We hope that all travel organizations will use the new guidelines to re-examine their excursions with animals and adjust them where necessary." 

Tour operators are therefore advised to no longer offer or promote these activities. Also shows with other wild animals will no longer be visited. Although voluntary, these guidelines are of great value as they provide clear guidance for tour operators and their members on what should be considered acceptable and unacceptable to offer when it comes to animal experiences. 
 
As a result of our efforts, more than 290 member tour operators are advised not to offer or support these activities any longer.  

An important step for both animals and humans. 'As a trade association, together with our 290 travel organizations, we are constantly working on 'Better holidays', on a world that connects people and destinations and creates pleasant experiences, on a world that respects, protects and positively affects people, culture, nature, animals and the environment. contributes to society. And this is another step on the right track.' said Frank Oostdam, director of ANVR. 

Opportunity for a responsible tourism future 

Not only is there a lot of animal suffering behind wildlife entertainment; the development of zoonoses and pandemics is also a direct consequence of our interaction with wild animals.  

'The corona crisis is an opportunity for the travel industry to restart in a sustainable and responsible manner, promoting exclusively animal-friendly tourism. Applying the guidelines and thus the further phasing out of cruel animal attractions is good for the animals, public health and it strengthens the positive customer experience and thus the future-proofness of the travel industry.' says Sanne Kuijpers. 

The ANVR guidelines are not only important for setting higher animal welfare standards and raising awareness among Dutch tour operators, they are a great example for travel organizations around the world. 

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