This anxiety over animal welfare has stopped me from booking trips to places where I know animal cruelty often occurs; instead of pristine beaches and bottom-less drinks at a resort, I think of the stray dogs and cats seen wandering the streets just outside of those gated tourist communities. But…when my fiance suggested/landed on Morocco as our honeymoon destination, I decided to put my anxiety aside and start booking immediately. The thrill of such an exotic country was calling to me and I couldn’t ignore it. I often travel to European countries and those that hold more ‘western’ values, which results in less animal abuse. At least, out in public. Animal abuse still happens in our own backyard (old-style rodeos make my stomach churn), but is much lower due to proper education on animal health and treatment.
And, that’s where Spana Charity comes along.
Spana Charity helps educate children on the proper treatment of animals, provides free veterinary care to those in need, and helps out working animals in emergency and outreach projects. And, they’ve been doing it since 1923.
Lucky for those of us who want to stay informed and up-to-date for our next trip abroad, they’ve made a handy Holiday Hooves Guide.
This guide helps you learn what you should look out for when choosing an animal for your adventures. It also tells you what to do if you find an animal in need of your help, giving you a handy list of tourism board addresses and information to contact in case you see abuse that must be reported.
Print one out, download to your phone and feel better prepared when taveling abroad. Animal welfare education isn’t just about working animals, though. Keep your wits and common sense about you: when you are dealing with wild animals, respect them and their environment. That means not picking up a fawn to take pictures with, always listening to your guide (who is trained and has had tons of experience with the animals in front of you on your tour), and not trying to ‘help’ any animal you see. Feeding an animal isn’t always good for it, and while shooing off a turtle or deer from the middle of the road is most likely going to end with a cute story, going near a cub can anger a mama that may be nearby. Just call the local conservative officers (or equivalent) for advice. Why? Because unless you are well-versed in animal welfare (see: vet or conservation officer), chances are you will be hurting that animal even more and may put yourself in a dangerous situation. This could result in your guide or conservation officer having to shoot the animal to protect you and themselves. Don’t be that idiot. Do I want to cuddle with a lion? Hell, yes. Do I think I can befriend a snuggly looking lynx and gain myself a head bonk? Absolutely. Am I actually going to try to snuggle these animals, causing them to go on the offensive? Absolutely not.