Towards cruelty-free tourism

In this era, people are motivated by photo opportunities that will garner "likes" on their social media profile.

It is understandable that the uninformed tourist would be excited by the chance to interact with adorable tiger cubs ("Dicing with death? Check!"; Wednesday).

However, when it comes to animal photography, many are unaware of the cruelties that go into producing a photo with an animal.

Tigers used for photography are often drugged, defanged and have their claws removed. They suffer from several behavioural and physical problems, including stereotypic behaviours and self-mutilation.

Others suffer from lameness and skeletal deformities as a result of malnutrition and poor veterinary care. These come about as a result of being chained and confined to a small cage for several hours a day.

For wild animals, such as tigers, to be used as props, they are often trained using cruel methods, such as food deprivation, removal from mothers and physical abuse.

The safety of visitors is often overlooked as well.

There have been numerous well-documented and even fatal attacks on humans by "trained" and apparently mild-mannered captive wild cats.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the excitement of seeing these wild animals that we forget about their needs.

There are other ways to help tigers by appreciating them in the wild. One example is joining walks organised by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers.

By being an animal-friendly tourist, we can all play a vital role in putting an end to this cruel industry.

Sabrina Abdul Jabbar (Ms)
Campaigns Executive
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2015, with the headline 'Towards cruelty-free tourism'. Print Edition | Subscribe