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Animal Welfare Policy

Last Updated: July 2020

Our mission is to inspire users to travel the world, but we also understand the importance of promoting ethical tourism for the protection of animal welfare and conservation.

We encourage our users to think about the consequences of their actions as a tourist on local wildlife, by raising awareness of animal welfare issues and providing education on the importance of conservation and protection of wildlife.

Working with World Animal Protection, we are proud to support a tourism industry free of animal cruelty.

Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare

Our Animal Welfare Policy is based off the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare:

  1. Nutrition - Freedom from hunger and thirst with access to appropriate nutrition
  2. Environment - Freedom from discomfort with access to appropriate space and shelter
  3. Health - Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  4. Behaviour - Freedom to express natural and normal behaviours
  5. Mental State - Freedom from fear and distress

Unacceptable Practices

We consider the following practices unacceptable and do not promote these activities on our platform.

  • Activities involving the use of animals for fighting (including bullfights, cockfights and bear baiting)
  • Activities involving animals performing tricks for human entertainment (including circuses, dolphin shows and dancing monkeys)
  • Activities involving animals that have been bred or held in captivity solely for tourism purposes
  • Activities involving the hunting of wild animals
  • Activities involving patting or taking photos with wild animals (including big cats, lion and tiger cubs)
  • Activities involving riding wild animals (including elephant, dolphin and ostrich rides)

Riding Animals

Whilst riding wild animals under any circumstances is not acceptable, travellers are sometimes presented with the opportunity to ride domesticated animals such as horses, donkeys and camels.

In these instances, we aim to ensure that any such practices promoted through our platform are compliant with animal protection guidelines. These guidelines include:

  • The requirement of appropriate licenses
  • The requirement that all working animals are treated humanely, kept in a healthy condition, are not overloaded and forced to carry too much weight, are given adequate amounts of water and enough rest between rides.

Riding Animals

Whilst many zoos hold animals captive under sub-par conditions for the sole purpose of commercial tourism, some zoos make a conscious effort to educate the public on the importance of, and play a pivotal role in, the conservation of threatened species. Our team examines zoos case by case, to see whether their operation adheres to our animal welfare standards and acts in the best interest of the animals they house.

Vacaay does not feature any zoo on our platform that does not comply with this animal welfare policy.

Aquariums

Whales, dolphins and seals held in captivity are subject to horrible, unnatural conditions due to inadequate space, which consequently has a detrimental effect on their health and welfare. In captivity, these highly-social animals are not given adequate interaction with pod mates and as a result, we do not feature or promote any aquarium that houses whales, dolphins or seals on our platform.

Acceptable Practices

There is no better way to view animals than in the wild. Seeing wildlife flourishing in their natural environment is an amazing and unique experience that we encourage travellers to enjoy.

Whilst on safari and other guided tours, we advise travellers to maintain a reasonable distance from wild animals and make as little noise as possible, to avoid disrupting their natural behaviour.

Sanctuaries & rehabilitation centers exist to rescue and nurture vulnerable animals that may have been orphaned or injured in the wild. Reputable centers can gain accreditation from a number of governing bodies including the American Sanctuary Association (ASA), the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).

Reputable animal sanctuaries should have a licensed veterinarian on site at all times and should offer a conservation educational component. We proudly support many of these sanctuaries and encourage travellers to include them on their itineraries, where possible.

Additional Information

If you have any questions regarding our Animal Welfare Policy, or feel an attraction featured on our platform does not comply with animal protection guidelines, please contact us at animalwelfare@vacaay.com. Our team takes your concerns seriously and we endeavour to investigate any matters raised as soon as possible.