A traveller’s guide to avoiding the mistreatment of animals in entertainment


A traveller’s guide to avoiding the mistreatment of animals in entertainment

It’s summer and we’re all in the mood for a holiday. But while some prefer to laze by the pool drinking bottomless cocktails, some - like Coster Content’s very own Brittany - have something more adventurous in mind...

With summer approaching, many of us will be browsing the web looking for new and exciting travel destinations that will make an Instagram-worthy post. People are now turning to backpacking as alternatives to the typical poolside holiday. Offering more of a thrill and a way to drink in different cultures, it’s easy to get lost in what’s normal and natural when things are so different from our own lives. Here are our top tips on how to avoid animal cruelty while still doing the activities you travelled halfway around the world for.

Circuses and shows

Using animals to perform for entertainment is unnatural and abusive. Most of the animals you see in performances are drugged and beaten using items such as bullhooks, whips, and electric prods. They’re made to be docile and afraid to step out of line when putting on a show which does not comply with their natural instincts.

These animals grow up in captivity away from their families. They spend 96% of their lives in cages or chains. It’s a stressful environment for them where they’re often crammed into small, unsanitary cages. They’re left with no socialisation, resulting in them suffering from various psychological issues and physical health problems.


If it’s a circus you’re looking for, you can save animals from these terrible conditions by supporting animal-free circuses such as any of these. Not only will you be protecting the lives of animals, but you’ll also be supporting hardworking professionals who are passionate about what they do.

Elephant rides

Even if the people running the elephant rides persuade you they treat the animals well, don’t be fooled. Some places even name themselves ‘sanctuaries’, but continue to use rides and other cruelty-based entertainment to lure in tourists. So please do your research!

Most of these amazing creatures spend their time chained up, barely able to move. The saddles on their backs are made of steel or wood, causing them extreme pain and discomfort. It’s not natural for elephants to carry things on their backs, especially not the weight of one, or sometimes even two, full-grown humans.

These animals are stripped of their basic needs and forced to perform cruel acts for our entertainment. They’re taken away from their mothers as infants, causing distress to both mother and child, and the training starts straight away. Cruel and abusive methods are often used to remove the animal's natural instincts.


Elephant sanctuaries are a way to get close to these beautiful animals and show your appreciation for them. Some of them even give you the personal touch of feeding them or bathing with them. However, we recommend experiences which are purely observational to ensure that the elephants have complete freedom and control of their own actions. A list of the best recommended natural elephant experiences around the world can be found here.

Say no to SeaWorld

Attractions such as SeaWorld and other entertainment parks like it are horrendously detrimental to the lives of marine animals. Huge, magnificent animals, like orcas, are kept in confined spaces in captivity. They’re given a space with a maximum depth of 50 feet and a length of 350 feet. Compared to the 1,000 feet and 100 miles a day orcas usually swim, it’s no surprise that these mammals are left with extreme mental and physical health issues, such as collapsed dorsal fins and broken teeth from trying to escape their prison of a tank.

There are numerous articles you can read on the negative impacts that SeaWorld has had so far on the marine animals they’ve cruelly captured. Animal charity PETA outlines the 17 worst things they’ve done so far. Unfortunately, we expect there will be more to come unless people change their attitudes towards such heartless attractions.

If you haven’t watched Blackfish on Netflix, we suggest you do.


The seas are full of beautiful marine creatures. To get the best view of them, we recommend a boat tour to see them in their natural habit doing what they do best. You can find out about other cruelty-free marine life activities here.

There are plenty of options that let you view wildlife without obstructing their freedom and happiness. Next time you book an adventure, please consider these few simple tips to make a big impact on the lives of animals all over the world.

If you’d like to find out more on how to educate your audience on a topic that’s important to you, then we’re here to help. Contact us here to see how we can help you to produce engaging content for multiple purposes and audiences, no matter your business.

Alia Coster