What can I do if I perceive a dog with an ingrown chain necklace, a cat in the litter, an emaciated horse? Countless animals are suffering under animal-tormenting conditions at holiday locations.
What can I do as a Tourist?
If you notice a mutilated animal in a holiday location, you could try to find out whether there is an animal welfare group you could ask for advice or help. Nowadays this is easily possible, using the internet at the hotel or your smartphone. You can also ask the hotel employees where to find a local animal welfare organization. This has the advantage that these persons already know whom to contact in the local infrastructure (vet, the local authorities in duty of such cases etc.) Unfortunately only few animal welfare groups in southern holiday countries have the capacities to take care for all cases announced to them by tourists. Tourists most times only see “the tip of the iceberg”. The problem with poorly kept or abandoned animals in southern holiday countries is overwhelming.
Open your eyes and help
The worst thing you can do is to wait until you got back home to write an email to an animal welfare organization you think is in charge and tell them “There is a problem, take care of it quickly”. This nearly never works as you want, apart to appease your own bad conscience. Who has found an animal in bad state or in need and is interested in his destiny, should seize the initiative and help. Every tourist has the possibility to provide the first assistance if animal grief is observed:
- Bring food and water to the animal
- Let them be examined and vaccinated by the local veterinarian
If the owner of a poorly kept animal is known, you should have the courage to talk to him. Even if you do not speak the language, you can talk non-verbally with your hands and feet. In addition to that, you can talk with the locals and focus their attention on the problem. Often this will work even in English. It is very important to point out clearly to the local hotel manager or restaurant owner that you disapprove the irresponsible handling of animals and that under these circumstances will not spend any more of your vacation time in this holiday location. The threat of less income is in most cases, especially if this is happening often, a measure to sharpen the consciousness for the problem in the locals, and maybe over a longer period they will change their minds.
Compulsory vaccination for crossing the border with an animal
If you decided to take animals – like dogs or cats- back home with you, above all vaccination terms are to be considered. Otherwise a bad surprise will wait for you at the customs. Most times the mandatory periods between the vaccinations are longer than your holidays. You could ask a local animal welfare group for help, perhaps they could take the animal in temporary care, until you can get it later when everything is arranged. Another option is to donate regularly for an animal in a shelter, or to donate a bigger sum for a necessary operation.
Reduction of suffering by donations
Especially on vacation, don’t close your eyes for the misery of the animals. What might appear wildly romantic on the first view, on a closer look might be pure pain, and then you should interfere and show conviction and courage. To look away or not to feel responsible about it is surely the more comfortable method. But this method does not change anything. On the other hand: For the animal that is helped, the life changes 100% for the better and this should be worth the trouble, even on vacation. It is an indescribable feeling if you have saved a life.
Remarks of another Member of the Association:
Even we, as animal protectors were always taught not to feed animals in holiday locations
I would not recommend it either, because it makes the animals dependent on this food, and you don’t know, what kind of illness they might have. They get used on the food in tourist’s seasons, multiply and when the tourists are gone they suffer even more.
So if somewhere is an urgent of help, like animals in the street, then you should try to help, but to distribute water and food to all street dogs and street cats, to deal with animal shelters and veterinarian officials and to argue with bad animal keepers without speaking the local language – I guess you won’t spent your vacation like this.
So it might be better to look for a vacation place, where as an interfering animal welfare activist, you will be less triggered to get upset and have only a little risk to see such grievances.