Experience Travel Group is committed to animal welfare, both for captive animals and those you observe in a wild environment. They commit to continuously work with suppliers to ensure compliance with relevant national and international welfare legislation and best practice.
The Group is committed to upholding and enhancing the minimum standards of welfare for animals whose lives are impacted by tourism, and to protecting animals from exploitation, neglect and cruelty at the hands of the tourism industry. They commit to abiding by the Five Freedoms adopted by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a benchmark for animal's physical and mental well being. These are:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: nutritious food and clean water
- Freedom from Discomfort: a suitable living environment that provides shelter, opportunities to rest and considers the species-specific needs of wild animals
- Freedom from Pain, Injury and Disease: preventative and curative health care
- Freedom to express Normal Behaviour: living space that encourages natural behaviour
- Freedom from Fear and Distress: appropriate areas to seek privacy and limit human contact
As a member of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators), they work closely with these groups as well as animal welfare NGO’s worldwide in order to better understand and identify practices which may pose a risk to animal welfare and our client’s health and safety in our destination countries. They provide the following guidelines to clients for responsible wildlife viewing:
- Do not feed wild animals – this can have severe consequences for an animal’s welfare as well as your own personal safety
- Do not touch wild animals – you can unwittingly pass on diseases that the animal has no immunity against, as well as placing yourself at risk.
- Do not smoke when close to animals
- Do not tease or provoke animals
- Do not shout of make loud noises when close to animals
- Do not drop litter – please dispose of it responsibly
- Do not support the use of animals as photographic props
- Do not support animal performances where animals are trained to perform tasks that have no basis in their natural behavior – for example riding bikes, cleaning teeth, elephants doing headstands. These behaviours are unnatural and may involve adverse training techniques which can have serious animal welfare implications.
- Do not purchase souvenirs made out of wildlife products or other threatened natural materials e.g. coral, shells, starfish. Wildlife products may include but are not limited to: skin (handbags, belts, and drums), ivory, bush-meat, bones, feathers, quills, teeth etc., traditional medicines, good luck charms, tortoiseshell or plant parts.
In their commitment to wildlife and ecosystems - animal protection, they provide clients with information on animal welfare issues as they arise through the Experience Travel blog, and employ customer feedback mechanisms to provide clients with a platform to inform of new issues.