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Sunday, 23 June 2024

Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill Passed Second Reading at the House of Lords

THIS Bill is amongst the most important animal-related bills ever in the UK, protecting millions of endangered animals worldwide and has now passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords.

Save The Asian Elephants (‘STAE’) with the backing of 100 leading UK animal welfare charities and influencers is pioneering the Bill to end the UK’s sale and advertising of practices abroad where wildlife is cruelly exploited in tourism.  The Bill, a world-first for Britain, has attracted interest from many nations across the world including the EU bloc, USA and Australia.

The Bill has passed all stages in the House of Commons without opposition. STAE and its numerous supporters urged the House of Lords to vote for the Bill at the Second Reading Friday 14 July 2023 and now urges the public to support this most vital measure.

STAE’s goal is for the Bill to pass into law with huge public backing, so keeping the government’s focus on implementing it most robustly.

By prohibiting the UK advertising and sale of access to activities abroad which involve cruelty to animals, the Bill will steer the market towards ethical and safe venues.

This will throw a lifeline to numerous endangered species and enable their observation in natural surroundings from a respectful distance, and without transmission of highly infectious and deadly TB. It will also protect tourists from species such as elephants who often attack when provoked by torture.

STAE’s CEO, Duncan McNair, states:

“STAE has pioneered such measures because of the brutal treatment of numerous species in modern tourism, so much generated in the UK. Such law will curb the promotion of ruthless practices upon many species in favour of genuine sanctuaries and wildlife reserves.

“STAE has built a vast database of evidence of appalling abuse of animals at tourist facilities vigorously promoted by UK-based travel companies. Abused species such as Asian elephants when provoked often attack tourists, sometimes fatally. Unethical conditions also encourage the transmission of deadly zoonotic diseases like TB.”

The UK market lacks any effective regulation. Law is needed to prevent such brutality to vulnerable and endangered species. The market is huge and growing. In Thailand, captive elephants gave 13 million rides in 2016 and yet only 2,800 tourist elephants survive there, many worked to death. In 2018/19 two million UK tourists visited India and Thailand. 32% of those visiting Thailand reported riding an elephant or wishing to. The Asia-Pacific tourist market is the fastest growing in the world.

STAE has identified to date over 1,200 UK-based travel companies advertising nearly 300 brutal overseas elephant venues alone.


To Asian elephants: isolation, daily beating, stabbing, malnourishment and overwork.

To elephants and numerous other species:

  • snatching from the wild, which harms them, local wildlife populations and local people,
  • mothers killed, injured or harmed to capture infants,
  • breeding mothers kept in and forced to raise their young in cruel facilities,
  • infants taken from their mothers too young,
  • high mortality of animals in transit and trade,
  • animals kept in unnatural and harmful forms of captivity, particularly damaging to long-lived species and those accustomed to a large range in the wild,
  • animals forced to perform unnatural behaviours,
  • the use of fear, pain or drugs or the treatment of their use to control and ‘train’ animals,
  • the use of methods of domination to traumatise and subdue animals,
  • animals closely handled by multiple untrained people giving no option to retreat,
  • risk of zoonotic disease transmission especially with animals used as photo props and handled by numerous people,
  • keeping of animals no longer used for exhibition in cruel surroundings or their killing before reaching their natural end of life.

STAE is calling on the UK government to ensure the passage into law as soon as possible of the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill, in line with its past pledges to help elephants and other endangered species in line with its action plan on animal welfare.


Read about STAE’s notable Board members including Prince Emmanuel de Merode, Ian Redmond OBE, Dr S. Chinny Krishna and Hon. Jigmi Yoser Thinley.

What would it mean for this law to be passed?

A crucial step towards saving many highly endangered iconic species across the world.

What will it mean if the law does not go through?

A disastrous lost opportunity to arrest the brutal treatment and decline into extinction by Man’s hand of many wondrous and important creatures.


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