Little kids love animals, so naturally, as parents, we want to find activities where they can see and learn more about them.
But in doing so, this can often give time, money and opportunity to industries and companies that cause animals unimaginable suffering and hardship. PETA has come up with alternative fun and cruelty-free activities where your little ones can still enjoy animals but in a much more kind and ethical way.
1. Ditch the zoo and try an animal sanctuary
Even though many zoos are beautifully set out, they can never truly capture the natural habitat of animals.
As a result, animals are prevented from taking part in their natural activities such as running, roaming, flying, climbing, foraging and choosing a partner. Instead of showing your kids that it’s acceptable to keep animals locked up in captivity, far from their natural home, often without ample space and true companionship, why not try an animal sanctuary?
Genuine sanctuaries never breed animals or use them in commercial activities, rather rescuing animals and rehabilitating those in need.
2. Find an animal-free circus
Circus animals are often forced to perform all manner of tricks, often fearful of what will happen if they don’t do as they are told. And are often abused with whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods and other painful tools and instruments.
So why not go to a circus that relies on the skill of willing human beings, who are well-trained and paid for what they do – and genuinely love to perform.
Fortunately, there are some great ones to choose from such as Flying Fruit Fly, Zirka Circus, Circus Oz and Cirque du Soleil, all of which will wow your kids much more than a traditional circus ever would.
3. Avoid aquariums and take to the water
The multi-million dollar aquarium industry is responsible for keeping some of the world’s most sensitive and intelligent creatures locked away in cramped areas, nothing like their natural habitats.
Instead of swimming freely, they’re living in small tanks with bright lights, loud noises and excitable crowds. Boating, snorkelling, even sitting on a jetty or paddling in the sea, are all fantastic ways to experience a range of sea life in their natural homes.
4. Try ‘fishing’ for rubbish instead
Many parents are keen to show their kids how to fish. But according to PETA, studies have shown that this causes fish a great deal of pain – even when we throw them back. An estimated 60 percent of fish thrown back into the water after being caught will die shortly after. This can be caused by losing their protective scale coating, which makes them vulnerable to disease, oxygen depletion and damage to their delicate fins and mouths.
Give your kids the chance to enjoy the many beautiful beaches or waterways of Australia, learn to care for them and even experience marine life in their natural habitat.
5. Leave horse riding and visit botanical gardens and parks
Horses are herd animals that naturally associate with other members of their large groups, graze in meadows, travel great distances, play, and engage in courtship behaviour, says PETA. They also deserve to live their lives as nature intended, without human beings climbing on top of them, making enormous demands.
Instead of taking your kids for a pony ride, pack up a picnic lunch and visit a park or botanical garden. Your little ones will experience a wide variety of plants from all over the world, and enjoy the luxury of an expansive open green space to run in and play freely.