As a company, we firmly believe that travelers have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. It is our sincere hope that Under30Experiences can contribute positively to the areas we operate in.
Under30Experiences maintains rigorous standards to ensure the utmost respect for all animals, both wild and domesticated, and strives to educate our travelers on how to be responsible stewards of all living beings.
Here are some specific policies we have in place to safeguard the welfare of animals:
No Elephant Riding in Thailand: Instead, we visit a leading elephant rehabilitation center in the country, directing our funds to support these magnificent creatures.
No Feeding Monkeys in Costa Rica: We discourage feeding animals, such as the endangered titi monkey, as this can lead to health issues. Moreover, it's illegal in Costa Rica.
Zero Interaction Safaris in South Africa: We firmly believe in observing animals in their natural habitat with absolutely no human interference. We do not visit establishments that engage in activities like "lion walks" or "cub petting.
No Luwak Coffee in Indonesia: We do not support the practice of using animals that are force-fed to produce coffee beans.
No Shark Petting in Belize: We uphold a strict no-contact rule, as feeding wild animals can create dependency and affect their health.
What about riding horses, donkeys, or camels? These domesticated working animals have been selectively bred for hundreds of years to engage in this type of work. They are notably different from wild animals. That being said, the care of these animals is critical. Under30Experiences subscribes to the 5 Domains Model of animal welfare, which was expanded upon from the Five Freedoms. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33066335/)
Travelers should be matched to an animal of appropriate size and should inspect their animals for any signs of abuse. Animals should look well-fed, without wounds or saddle sores, and their handlers should not use force to coerce the animal. They are given appropriate rest, and their five freedoms and domains are always satisfied.
What about dog sledding? Sled dogs have been bred to pull sleds as a form of transportation in Alaska, Northern Canada, and Greenland and are still used today by rural communities and for recreational purposes. We always work with local vendors who have strict animal welfare policies and take great care of their dogs. They have adequate rest, food, water, and shelter, and are not pushed beyond their limits. They have significant opportunities to exercise and socialize. Animals are not coerced and receive positive reinforcement. They receive regular veterinary care.
How do we view animals in the wild? Under30Experiences has a strict no-contact rule and believes the animals should be viewed in their natural habitat. Contact between humans and animals can pass disease and be dangerous for both parties. Animals who get fed become dependent and can become aggressive. Always stay in the vehicle on a safari. Our travelers are required to keep a safe distance from animals when observing, snorkeling, or diving. It is important to be quiet so as not to disturb the animals. Do not call out or intend to startle the animals. While observing nocturnal animals, limit the use of flashlights to avoid disrupting the animals or revealing their whereabouts to potential predators.
What is an animal sanctuary? Under30Experiences only visits animal sanctuaries that have the animals' best possible interest in mind. Genuine animal sanctuaries: -Do not buy and sell animals. -Do not train animals to perform. Do not breed wild animals unless part of an officially recognized program to release endangered animals back into the wild.-Have skilled veterinarians who specialize in the care of the animals. Do not keep animals unless there is a conservation or rehabilitation reason. Travelers are discouraged from purchasing animal products such as skins, horns, turtle shells, spiders, butterflies, coral, and even seashells. Whether the trade of these items is legal or illegal in the jurisdictions we travel to, the product these products may significantly harm animals.
What about other practices that are not part of our itineraries? Under30Experiences does not condone any exploitive measures activities including but not limited to cock fighting, ostrich riding, bullfighting, snake charming, swimming with dolphins, and consuming turtle or shark fin soup. Please avoid taking selfies with animals, as people are often tempted to get too close to the animal, resulting in undue stress to the animal that can lead to aggression. We encourage travelers to steer clear of marine parks or aquariums, especially those that house large marine mammals like dolphins. These animals are either bred in captivity or taken from the wild and made to exist in inadequate conditions that fail to replicate the vast ocean or cater to their intricate social, behavioral, and cognitive requirements.
If you have concerns about an included activity or supplier, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can address the issue. Please be our eyes and ears on the ground regarding animal welfare.