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Crackdown on wildlife attractions needed

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By Josh Loeb

Holidaymakers are bad at spotting signs of poor welfare at exotic animal attractions, but a colour-coded ratings system could help divert revenue away from detrimental circuses and menageries, an Oxford academic has said.

Tom Moorhouse, a post-doctoral researcher in zoology at the University of Oxford, told attendees at the Tourism and Animal Welfare Symposium last week that he had trawled through many thousands of TripAdvisor pages relating to unregulated dolphinaria, lion-handling centres, elephant rides, tiger farms and other exploitative ventures in the course of his research at Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

Cumulative exposure to visitors’ photographs of places like Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple, where tourists could pose for selfies with sedated tigers, made this study the ‘most depressing three months of my entire life,’ he said.

He added: ‘I don’t …

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