Working with Animals
We believe that wild animals should be just that – wild, so we only list volunteering with animals where there is a conservational benefit or need for rehabilitation and animals are not held in captivity unless this is the only option for them (for instance if the animal has been rescued but cannot be immediately reintroduced into their natural habitat for their own safety). Our philosophy towards the treatment of animals will always be “treat others how we would like to be treated” – we certainly wouldn’t want to be separated from our families, tethered, caged, beaten or force fed coffee beans, so we will never support any mistreatment of animals.
We are happy to list the following (provided all reasonable and necessary precautions are taken to ensure volunteer and visitor safety):
- Safaris and wildlife excursions where animals can be observed in their natural habitats at a respectful distance
- Volunteering with domesticated animal rescue charities and organisations
- Volunteering with Animal Conservation charities and organisations
- Animal Rescue Sanctuaries where animals cannot be reintroduced into the wild due to domestication, injury or loss of natural habitat territories - This includes working with rescued or retired working animals for continued care
- Veterinary Volunteering
However, in line with our Working with Animals policy we cannot list:
- Zoos and Marine Parks – We never encourage visits where animals are kept in enclosures and whilst there’s arguments both for and against animals in zoos we believe if you want to see wild animals this should always be in their natural habitat and at a respectful distance.
- Any location or volunteering placement with captive or “tame” wild animals – Tourists should never be encouraged to touch or take photos with wild animals, this is not only stressful for the animal but also puts people in serious danger - no matter how tame that animal may appear to be! This is especially true for lions, tigers and bears whose natural instincts are very definitely not tame
- Any location or volunteering placement with sedated animals except where there is a genuine veterinary requirement
- Any location or volunteering placement with working animals including civet and luwak coffee farms, elephant rides, street performances, etc – such activities are not in the animal’s best interest and in many cases the animal may have been poached from the wild, trained using unethical methods or kept in poor conditions.
- Any location or volunteering placement, safari or reserve where animals are hunted
We do understand attitudes to animals may differ vastly from culture to culture and that most tourism involving animals can, where there is a lack of welfare and sustainable employment prospects, be the only source of income for people. However we strongly advise tourists and volunteers not to participate in any activity that may contribute to the mistreatment or exploitation of animals. Instead we believe demanding only ethical treatment of animals in their natural habitat will create better employment options for local people.
As an ethical business, we put the safety and well-being of all living creatures before anything else, so our position will always be: If we’re in any doubt we’ll leave it out.