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Animals being used as tourist props in Mexico

28/06/2013 10:48:04
world/sth_america_2011/mexico_animals

Visitors to Cancun and other resorts are often confronted by people with young, cute animals with which they can have a photograph taken – for a fee

Call on Mexico to ban use of wild animals as tourist photo ‘props'

June 2013. The use of wild animals, such as lion, jaguar and tiger cubs for tourist photo ‘props' in resorts across Mexico should be outlawed to protect the animals, say three international wildlife charities. Care for the Wild International, Born Free Foundation (both UK) and FAADA Foundation (Spain), have united to petition the Mexican government to change the law following hundreds of complaints from tourists.

Tourists having photos taken with animals
Visitors to Cancun and other resorts are often confronted by people with young, cute animals with which they can have a photograph taken - for a fee. Some are told that the animals are ‘orphans', and that the money will go towards their care - but this is often far from the truth.

Taken from mothers at birth, drugged & mutilated
Most of the animals will have been taken away from their mothers at birth, they may be drugged, mutilated - teeth and claws removed - exploited on a daily basis then faced with an uncertain future when they are too old for photographs.

Philip Mansbridge, CEO of Care for the Wild, said: "Millions of animals around the world are used in tourism activities, including these. And like in this case, tourists often don't realise that by simply having a photograph taken, they are contributing to suffering and abuse. Through our RIGHT-tourism.org website, we're aiming to get tourists to check first before they do something involving animals on holiday which they, or the animals, may regret."

Presented as conservation
Giovanna Costantini, from FAADA, said: "The most outrageous thing in Mexico is that these activities are presented as ‘conservation' by its organizers, who every year deceive thousands of tourists while seriously threatening the welfare of the animals involved. And this is something that FAADA through its Responsible Tourism campaign (www.responsible-tourism.org) wants people to be aware of and wants authorities to ban as a matter of urgency."

Petition
Sarah Jefferson, from the Born Free Foundation, said: "The Born Free Foundation has received many hundreds of reports about wild animal photo props in Mexican holiday resorts from international tourists via our Travellers' Animal Alert initiative (www.bornfree.org/TAA). The sad fact is that currently this exploitation appears to be legal, as long as the people involved have the official permits to operate. From the huge public feeling on this issue and the clear welfare concerns, we feel that the Mexican authorities need to take action to amend the law and make this activity illegal."

The petition, which has reached 3,500 signatures after just a few days, will be sent to key political and tourism officials in Mexico in a bid to make this practice illegal.

The petition can be found here Stop the Abuse of Animals Used for Tourist Photos (English) or here  Stop al abuso de animales en sesiones fotográficas con turistas (Spanish).

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