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Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill Passed Second Reading at the House of Lords 


Jul 25, 2023 #STEA


This Bill is amongst the most important animal-related bills ever in the UK, protecting millions of endangered animals worldwide and has now passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords.

(Pajan: the brutal, often fatal, “breaking of the spirits” of young elephants for easy use in tourism).  

Save The Asian Elephants (“STAE”) with the backing of 100 leading UK animal welfare charities and influencers is pioneering the Bill to end the UK’s sale and advertising of practices abroad where wildlife is cruelly exploited in tourism.  The Bill, a world-first for Britain, has attracted interest from many nations across the world including the EU bloc, USA and Australia.

The Bill has passed all stages in the House of Commons without opposition.  STAE and its numerous supporters urged the House of Lords to vote for the Bill at the Second Reading Friday 14 July 2023 and now urges the public to support this most vital measure.

STAE’s goal is for the Bill to pass into law with huge public backing, so keeping government’s focus on implementing it most robustly.

By prohibiting the UK advertising and sale of access to activities abroad which involve cruelty to animals, the Bill will steer the market towards ethical and safe venues.

This will throw a lifeline to numerous endangered species and enable their observation in natural surroundings from a respectful distance, and without transmission of highly infectious and deadly TB. It will also protect tourists from species such as elephants who often attack when provoked by torture.

STAE’s CEO, Duncan McNair, states:

“STAE has pioneered such measures because of the brutal treatment of numerous species in modern tourism, so much generated in the UK.  Such law will curb promotion of ruthless practices upon many species in favour of genuine sanctuaries and wildlife reserves.

STAE has built a vast database of evidence of appalling abuse of animals at tourist facilities vigorously promoted by UK based travel companies.  Abused species such as Asian elephants when provoked often attack tourists, sometimes fatally.  Unethical conditions also encourage the transmission of deadly zoonotic diseases like TB.”

The UK market lacks any effective regulation. Law is needed to prevent such brutality to vulnerable and endangered species.  The market is huge and growing. In Thailand captive elephants gave 13 million rides in 2016 and yet only 2,800 tourist elephants survive there, many worked to death. In 2018/19 two million UK tourists visited India and Thailand.  32% of those visiting Thailand reported riding an elephant or wishing to. The Asia-Pacific tourist market is the fastest growing in the world.

STAE has identified to date over 1,200 UK based travel companies advertising nearly 300 brutal overseas elephant venues alone.


To Asian elephants: isolation, daily beating, stabbing, malnourishment and overwork.

To elephants and numerous other species:

·         snatching from the wild, which harms them, local wildlife populations and local people,

·         mothers killed, injured or harmed to capture infants,

·         breeding mothers kept in and forced to raise their young in cruel facilities,

·         infants taken from their mothers too young,

·         a high mortality of animals in transit and trade,

·         animals kept in unnatural and harmful forms of captivity, particularly damaging to long lived species and those accustomed to a large range in the wild,

·         animals forced to perform unnatural behaviours,

·         the use of fear, pain or drugs or the treat of their use to control and ‘train’ animals,

·         the use of methods of domination to traumatise and subdue animals,

·         animals closely handled by multiple untrained people giving no option to retreat,

·         risk of zoonotic disease transmission especially with animals used as photo props and handled by numerous people,

·         keeping of animals no longer used for exhibition in cruel surroundings or their killing before reaching their natural end of life.

STAE is calling on the UK government to ensure the passage into law as soon as possible of the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill, in line with its past pledges to help elephants and other endangered species in line with its action plan on animal welfare.


Read about STAE’s notable Board members including Prince Emmanuel de Merode, Ian Redmond OBE, Dr S. Chinny Krishna and Hon. Jigmi Yoser Thinley.

What would it mean for this law to be passed?

A crucial step towards saving many highly endangered iconic species across the world.

What will it mean if the law does not go through?

A disastrous lost opportunity to arrest the brutal treatment and decline into extinction by Man’s hand of many wondrous and important creatures.

A link to the Briefing Document that was sent to the House of Lords is here.

Support the new Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill to progress through Parliament and into new law, as promised now by Government, by:

  • Signing the STAE petition at stae.org
  • Sending the cut and paste letters on stae.org to politicians and foreign High Commissions in London:




  • Spreading the word to the media, writing articles, sharing on social media
  • Introducing STAE to large and influential audiences and media publications
  • Volunteering for STAE
  • Telling your travel agent why you want no direct contact with animals on holiday.

STAE has identified to date over 1,200 UK based travel companies advertising nearly 300 brutal overseas elephant venues alone.

A link to the Briefing Document that was sent to the House of Lords is here.

A link to the Hansard report is here.

About Save The Asian Elephants’ CEO Duncan McNair:



Duncan is a lawyer practising in commercial and Wills litigation, author and animal welfare campaigner.

Duncan undertakes extensive pro bono charity work, especially in the field of local communities and animal welfare.

In 2015 he founded Save The Asian Elephants (“STAE“), a coalition of politicians, academics, lawyers, field experts and campaigners working to protect the Asian elephant from abuse and extinction (www.stae.org).

He has addressed numerous influential audiences on the issues arising and solutions formulated by STAE in liaison with specialists in India, the UK and worldwide. Duncan was named “UK Animal Hero of the Year” (2018) in an event attracting 851 nominations. In 2021 STAE was named amongst the 9 best elephant charities in the world for the impact of its work.

Continuation of Save The Asian Elephants CEO Duncan McNair:

……..The Bill imposes a domestic ban on promotion of practices happening abroad where any vertebrate species are abused for holiday fun and profits. If the practice would be unlawful here, then advertising or sale here of the practice when happening abroad will also be forbidden.

Compelling evidence will be required of the abuse to ban its promotion. My organisation Save The Asian Elephants has an abundance of it in every harrowing form.   

Take Asian elephants – complex, majestic and ecologically crucial “megagardeners of the forests” which they nourish and sustain. Their sad fate in tourism is to be snatched as babies from the wild, their defensive mothers killed in front of them, isolated and starved for weeks, then beaten, ripped with hooks and screamed at till their “spirits break” (called Pajan). One half die in the process.

Britain sits atop an awful, rampant market – over 1,200 travel firms in the UK promoting almost 300 overseas “attractions” where violence, malnutrition, overwork, loneliness and psychological despair are the elephants’ daily fare, all to meet a demand churned up by callous greed and misleading advertising.

Add to the list baby monkeys enslaved from the forests to a life of selfies and profile pics, tiger cubs just photo props then drugged and chained for life in tiny cages, “walking with lions” later sold on for “canned hunting”, dolphins and orcas in tiny featureless pools till death, ostriches brutalised for riding – all will gain from this law whose ultimate goal is to steer the market towards ethical tourism.

This Bill, with untold millions of supporters in the UK alone, stands proudly as a world-first for our nation. It raises a standard to which every nation, sickened by the cruel ravaging of this planet’s precious inheritance, can rally while time remains. We can pray, but also now start really hoping, for better times for our beleaguered brothers and sisters in nature.”




By admin