By Ainsley Hay
The tide is turning against interactions with elephants by the paying public. The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (NSPCA) stance is that such “activities” play no part in ethical tourism and have no conservation or welfare benefit for the animals.
The Meerendal Wine Estate in Cape Town had applied to create an elephant tourist attraction at their wine estate. The National Council of SPCAs and the SPCA Cape of Good Hope have been vocal in our opposition of this, and we are delighted to report that thanks to public pressure, the estate has retracted its application.
Formal opposition was submitted to Cape Nature, the permit-issuing authority, by the NSPCA and other animal welfare groups, plus concerted public pressure.
There has been strong opposition to the proposed facility from the outset when the plans came to light: – especially as the projected use of the elephants was for entertainment in the form of elephant back safaris, elephant interactions and the use of elephants to crush grapes to make a novelty wine.
Appreciation is expressed to all – public, organisations and lobby groups – who stand firmly with the NSPCA in our opposition to the use of wild animals in captivity for entertainment.
Tempting as it might be to give credit to Meerendal for the withdrawal of their application, we feel strongly that the idea should never have been put forward. It was an unjustifiable, unethical and exploitive concept. Wild animals belong in the wild.