Global Code of Ethics for Tourism: Lacking a position on animal welfare

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism was adopted by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization in 1999 and recognized by the United Nations in 2001. Although the Code is not legally binding, it features a frame of reference for the responsible development of tourism in the world. As a voluntary implementation mechanism, it contributes to minimizing the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and society while maximizing the benefits for people living in tourism destinations.

The Code includes 10 articles covering the economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of tourism and hospitality:

1: Tourism’s contribution to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies
2: Tourism as a vehicle for individual and collective fulfillment
3: Tourism, a factor of sustainable development
4: Tourism, a user of the cultural heritage of mankind and contributor to its enhancement
5: Tourism, a beneficial activity for host countries and communities
6: Obligations of stakeholders in tourism development
7: Right to tourism
8: Liberty of tourist movements
9: Rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry
10: Implementation of the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

The Global Code of Ethics plays a key role in the development of responsible tourism. Despite of the importance of animals in tourism, none of the articles made reference to animals and their welfare.

Article 11 on animal welfare

Professor David Fennell from Brock University has critically evaluated the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as a frame of reference for responsible tourism. As he argues, the Code fails to fully address the notion of responsible tourism. By neglecting the needs of millions of animals used in the tourism industry for human entertainment and benefit, the Code fails to fully address the notion of responsible tourism. As he points out “being responsible means taking care of both human and animal needs”.

As a result, Professor Fennell recommends that the World Tourism Organization reconvene to amend the Code by adding Article 11 “Respect and welfare of animals used in the tourism industry”. In doing so, Article 11 takes into consideration the welfare needs of wild and domesticated animals according to seven principles (for a detailed overview see Fennell 2016). These principles draw attention to the working conditions of animals, proper welfare standards, confinement of animals for human entertainment and practices that inflict suffering on animals among others. A good overview of this discussion and Article 11 is presented in the video below. The video is base on a presentation given by Professor Fennell at Canisius College for the Ecotourism Symposium on January 18, 2015.

 

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