Haka Educational Tours commits to responsible travel

09/12/2021

We worked with Haka Educational Tours to establish a set of responsible travel policies, including a specific animal welfare policy, helping them to become the first travel operator in New Zealand to publicly commit to an animal welfare policy.

Thank you for continuing to fight for changes in the tourism industry. Animal-friendly travel is the future and you’re helping make it a reality. 

Image by Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary

The award-winning New Zealand educational tours company specialises in group travel for schools, universities and sports teams from around the world. They will now ensure that all tour operations and activities align with World Animal Protection policies.

As part of their animal welfare policy, Haka Educational Tours will not sell or promote venues and/or activities that offer tourists any of the following experiences: close interaction with wild animals, such as, touching or riding; watching wild animal performances, including but not limited to dolphin shows, circuses, orangutan boxing; photo opportunities with wild animals, including, but not limited to big cats, sloths, or primates, tiger selfies, dolphin kissing, or selfies with orangutans.

Ben Pearson, Interim Country Director, World Animal Protection said:

“We applaud Haka Educational Tours for showing industry leadership by becoming the first travel operator in New Zealand to publicly commit to an animal welfare policy. This is a win for wildlife, and a step toward a more ethical and sustainable future tourism industry.

“We must accept that human wellbeing is intrinsically linked to the health of animals and the natural world. The exploitation of wild animals is not only a source of animal suffering but threatens human health by creating conditions that could lead to future pandemics.

“We’d like to see more travel operators playing a bigger role in preventing the exploitation of wild animals by stepping away from selling any experience that involves animals being used for tourist entertainment, and leaving wild animals in the wild where they belong.”

Within their newly-created Animal Welfare Policy, Haka Educational Tours recognise there to be five domains of animal welfare, nutrition, environment, health, behaviour and mental state.

They understand that the needs of wild animals in particular can never be fully met in captivity.

Eleri Williams, Co-Founder & General Manager, Haka Educational Tours, explains:

“Our journey is underway but we appreciate there is a long way to go that requires radical action and collaboration. We are thrilled to be gaining guidance from a well-established organisation such as World Animal Protection, to ensure our policies are authenticated. Animal welfare is an area we are hugely passionate about, but we don't want to be the sole promoters of change. Our goal is to raise awareness, educate and advocate to our networks of teachers, students and groups, globally. We also encourage our tourism industry peers to join us on this journey to help change animals' lives, forever.”

However, where wild animals are kept in captivity, they advocate that the facility must not only provide animals with the best possible welfare conditions, but the facility must also be actively shifting away from exploitative practices and be supportive of phasing out keeping wild animals for commercial purposes.

Thank you for continuing to fight for changes in the tourism industry. Animal-friendly travel is the future and you’re helping make it a reality. 

Mamalasa the orangutan high up in a tree at Borneo Orangutan Survival Sanctuary

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