Animal exploitation is an uncomfortable topic. It can be hard to realise something you have fond memories of doing is actually harmful to the animals, but it’s important to know. It’s a very tricky topic because animal welfare is on a scale, so for one person, an animal has great welfare, and for another, it’s terrible.
This is a very important message so I implore you to spread the word, and please contact me with any questions or ask any in the comment box.
I will not be putting insensitive photos due to the nature of this post, however there may be some photos that are deemed uncomfortable
What is Animal Exploitation?
In the simplest terms, animal exploitation is the suffering of animals for the benefit of people. It is a form of animal cruelty and can be done in many different ways, from animal testing to farming, to cub petting and trophy hunting.
A lot of places are not up front about how their animals are treated, so it is worth looking into before purchasing make up or planning your next trip.
5 Animal Needs
In order to help you understand what animal welfare is, there is an act of legislation called Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Now, I’m going to go into specific types of animal exploitation that I think people need to know about.
Riding Exotic Animals
A very common form of animal exploitation is done by riding. Everyone wants to ride an elephant, don’t they? Or a camel, or even a donkey. However, most people do not realise HOW they train these animals to get ridden. It is not in these animal’s nature to have a human climb on top of them, so cruel methods are put into practice for the safety of humans and for the money.
Without going into detail, these animals are taken from their mother at a very young, and dangerous age, and abused into submission. If they take too long to become submissive or become too aggressive for handling, they usually are killed.
Not only is the training cruel to the animal, so is the riding equipment, such as the saddle which causes sores and pain. These animals are also kept in limited social groups and not always provided the correct diet – all of which are not providing them with their basic needs.
Walking a Wolf
I have had many an argument that Wolf Walking is not cruel because ‘they’re getting exercised and are with other wolves’. However, if you think of it from a natural point of view, wolves walk about 30 miles every day so they cannot get nearly enough exercise that they require and they live in packs, not just with a couple of other wolves.
Once again, in order to be submissive, these animals are removed from their mothers at a young age.
I have also been told that ‘they’re doing it for educational purposes, I learned a lot about wolves’. This is one of those instances when people don’t realise they are contributing to the exploitation industry. This is not the case! I then proceeded to ask about what this person learned in regard to the conservation of wolves – what are they doing to help? Where was their money going? How were the wolves treated when not being walked? They were stumped.
Playing with Cubs
This form of exploitation pulls at my heartstrings, and this is the type of issue that most people are familiar with. Lions, and other big cats, are removed from their mothers and placed in cages in which people can go into and cuddle and play with them.
Not only does this affect them as cubs since they lack important, maternal love from their mothers, this also affects their adulthood. They don’t learn how to live as a lion, meaning they couldn’t survive in the wild if they were released. Once a cub becomes too big and dangerous, they are put into isolated cages for the rest of their lives. People can then pay to trophy hunt these animals.
Other Forms of Exploitation
It can be very hard to know what is helping and what is hurting. Animal exploitation can be subtle so you have to ask the right questions. It can be in the form of:
- Petting zoos
- Zoo farms
- Photography sessions with exotic animals
- Buying ivory products or skin
- Marine parks
- Swimming with dolphins
- Circuses or animal shows
How to Avoid It
Now that you know what it looks like, it makes it a lot easier to avoid. However, if you are unsure then be sure to ask lots of questions before paying and participating.
What is the company doing to help their wild counterparts? Where is your money going – to the conservation or the owners? How are these animals treated when not being in human company? How did these animals get here? Who benefits most from this interaction? Is it necessary – can people be educated in different ways? Are the 5 needs being abided by?
Buying animal products also helps to support the animal trade so please try to avoid this as well. The product may be cheap and small, but it is not worth the life of an animal.
If you ever see any form of animal exploitation, report it! You can report it to authorities or to companies such as PETA who will try and help. If you are unsure about reporting, then please get in contact with me and I will be happy to help.
Let’s end animal exploitation.
Have you got any questions or anything to add? Let me know in the comments below!