Scotland and Wales urged to back ban on barbaric elephant tourism

Scotland and Wales urged to back ban on barbaric elephant tourism

February 26, 2023

A law which would help end the abuse of elephants for British holidaymakers’ entertainment has been threatened by a political spat, campaigners say. The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill will ban UK advertising of overseas attractions where elephants and other endangered animals are exploited and harmed to entertain tourists.

Welsh and Scottish Government chiefs back its aims but claim Westminster did not consult them.

There are now fears they could stop the measure becoming law in their nations – watering down its impact – as the world watches with an eye to following Britain’s lead.

Environmentalist Stanley Johnson, the father of ex-PM Boris, said: “This will cause havoc by enabling those countries to become havens for unscrupulous marketing formerly conducted in England.

“The Bill steers this catastrophic market towards safe and ethical tourism. But by failing to consult adequately, the UK’s Government has upset both Scotland and Wales, whose executives have retaliated by threatening to reject its extension into their countries.”

Mr Johnson, 82, added: “Tit-for-tat politics with Westminster should not consign these endangered, desperate species to ruination.”

Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) says at least 1,200 UK firms are still promoting 277 venues, including in Thailand, where the animals are allegedly broken in using a practice called pajan.

It involves immobilising elephant calves, who are deprived of water, food and sleep – then beaten and stabbed – so they submit to performing tricks, play games and give rides.

Baby monkeys, tiger cubs, dolphins and ostriches would also benefit from the proposed advertising ban. STAE chief executive Duncan McNair said: “What a tragedy if the Scottish and Welsh Governments rejected this opportunity to end the UK’s leading role in the abuse due to an unrelated spat with the Government in Westminster. We urge Edinburgh and Cardiff to review their position while there’s still time.”

The Bill had an unopposed second reading in the Commons this month. A committee stage date is yet to be fixed.

Mr Johnson and Daily Express columnist Ann Widdecombe, 75, delivered a 1.2-million signature petition against pajan practices to No 10 last month.

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