Saturday 27 May 2017

Alesha Dixon 'ashamed' after she sees animals entertaining tourists in Thailand

Alesha Dixon wants tour operators to stop offering, promoting and selling animal shows
Alesha Dixon wants tour operators to stop offering, promoting and selling animal shows

Singer and TV presenter Alesha Dixon has said she feels "ashamed to be a human being" after seeing animals used for tourists' entertainment in Thailand.

The Britain's Got Talent judge witnessed elephants walking across a tightrope, kicking a ball and spinning hoops on their trunks when she visited the country with global animal welfare charity World Animal Protection.

Undercover footage from the trip also shows baby tigers being used for tourist photographs, and then shut into cages to await the next snap.

Dixon, 38, is now calling on tourists to avoid such attractions and wants tour operators to stop offering, promoting and selling them.

She said: "I feel ashamed to be a human being.

"I know from research that there is no humane or kind way to train an elephant and for these shows there has been intense training, and the elephants would have suffered severely.

"I'm highlighting this cruelty so tourists stop going and this abuse ends."

The singer said the animals used in such displays have no choice and no freedom.

"It's quite frankly disgusting," she said.

"My job is to perform, to entertain, it's my passion, it's my love and it's a choice that I made for myself. I cannot imagine being forced to do it."

World Animal Protection estimates that approximately 110 million people visit cruel wildlife tourist attractions each year, unaware of the animal abuse involved.

Dixon said: "People need to know that behind the scenes these beautiful animals are kept in tiny little pens, have no freedom and are abused for our entertainment."

Alyx Elliott, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection UK, said: "We want to let everyone know about this cruelty so that they can make an informed choice, avoid these places completely, and consider seeing them in the wild instead."

:: World Animal Protection's Wildlife #NotEntertainers campaign aims to raise awareness about the issue so that tourists are fully informed. People can pledge not to visit these attractions on the World Animal Protection website, www.worldanimalprotection.org.uk.

Press Association

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