GLA Animal & Wildlife Welfare Policy
Global Leadership Adventures has adopted an Animal & Wildlife Welfare Policy to ensure that our program activities, specifically those that include participant engagement with animals (both wild and domesticated), are consistent with the welfare of any wildlife involved, in addition to the wellbeing of our students and staff.
In many places around the world, travelers may encounter situations where an animal's welfare has been compromised, often unknowingly. These incidents may sometimes be negative for both the traveler and the animal, while other times they are positive for the human participants but may pose unexpected problems for the creatures involved.
Our animal welfare philosophy is grounded in the belief that the welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental wellbeing. The GLA Animal & Wildlife Welfare Policy, therefore, acknowledges the important role wildlife plays in a holistic cross-cultural travel experience, while also ensuring that all program activities are vetted to account for the wellbeing of any animals involved.
All due diligence is taken to schedule activities ahead of programs that meet our Animal & Wildlife Welfare Policy. If GLA staff encounter an activity that we believe may compromise the welfare of participating animals, we may take action, based on level of urgency, to either:
- (a) phase out the activity in question and replace it with one that meets our standards, or
- (b) cancel the activity immediately and determine a suitable replacement
At GLA, our foremost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, and that will always come first. We also recognize that ensuring animal welfare is an important contribution to creating an atmosphere that is both safe and positive for our student body, our staff and any animals they may encounter on-program.
Therefore, we have borrowed principles for our policy from the RSPCA’s (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals) and World of Animal Welfare’s Five Freedoms. These Five Freedoms comprise a compact list of rights for animals under human control. As a result, the GLA Wildlife and Animal Welfare Policy asserts that animals under human control should have:
- Freedom from Hunger & Thirst
- Easy access to food and water designed to meet animals specific dietary needs for optimum health
- Animals must be provided with an environment consistent with their needs, including shelter from the elements
- By prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
- The provision of sufficient space, appropriate “natural” facilities and the company of animals of its own kind
- The provision of conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering
As it pertains to animal riding, our guidelines are informed by the most up-to-date best practices. For instance, in some cases we may allow camel riding, while we never allow elephant riding. Camels, similar to horses and burros, are domesticated pack animals that have been used for thousands of years to carry people and loads. Camel riding also does not have an adverse physical effect on the camel's health. Elephant riding however, as it exists today, has only been going on since the 1950s, and can cause severe physical distress.
In addition, our policy also asserts that for animals outside human control ("wild animals"), all efforts will be made to ensure wildlife is treated respectfully and responsibly. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Always keeping a safe distance from wild animals
- Supporting wildlife reserves and sustainable organizations or partners whenever possible
- A commitment to not interfering in the natural progression or behaviors of wildlife
- Leaving habitat untouched or "as we found it" (unless part of a specific conservation project which addresses environmental concerns)