Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Warning for Animal-Rights-Concerned Tourists

There are quite a few things that anyone concerned with animal rights should be aware of when on vacation this summer. Here are all the ones I could think of:
  • This summer, I urge everyone to refuse to buy wildlife souvenirs. For example, if you are going to India this summer, please make sure not to buy anything made of monkey fur, tiger skins, ivory, etc. It sounds obvious, but honestly, it is so easy to get carried away with excuses of "just this once" while on vacation! This is especially crucial with endangered species, of course, so that they do not become extinct. However, following the animal rights philosophy, we must also boycott all other animal souvenirs while we are away. Many animals are actually raised just for this industry alone, which dispels all wishful images of some native hunter donating the scraps of a wild animal to the tourist industry.
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  • Another thing to look out for: the foods of other cultures! If you are going somewhere that seems exotic by your standards, you had better do research on what all the food names mean-- and write them down! For example, hummus may be a delicious chickpea spread, but haggis is a Scottish "food" made from the lungs, heart, and liver of a sheep or calf. (Once when I was about 9, my mom told me there was hummus in my submarine sandwich. I thought she meant haggis, and I freaked out and almost vomited. Mind you, back then I thought that haggis was actually minced calf brains, so maybe it's different.) It is importatnt to keep up your animal rights vegan diet while away. You might have to bring a few of your own foods for this.
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Dog Meat, or Gaegogi (in Korean) for sale at market. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
  • Pony rides, camel rides, elephant rides... You've really got to consider how this will affect animals. Most of the rides that tourists are allowed to go on are animals specifically bred and raised for this purpose. Talk about unfair...

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If I've left anything else out, please leave it in the comments section. I'd love to know!

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