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Europe’s Most Dismal Destinations

Written by PETA | July 30, 2008
worldproutassembly / CC

Traveling to Europe? Fantastic! Everybody needs a vacation, and what better way to spend your time than viewing the history, attractions, and culture of another country? Achtung, though! In your travels, you might stumble (especially if you’ve been pub crawling) across marine parks, roadside zoos, donkey rides, and even captive dolphins.

These animals never get a vacation. Day in and day out, they are confined to tiny cages, forced to dance around in tutus at the St. Petersburg circus, or left to live an unfulfilled life in an inadequate enclosure that is light years removed from their natural habitats. Europe offers so many great opportunities for tourists that your stay can be crammed full of cruelty-free memories. To make it easier on you, PETA Europe has put together a list of places to avoid like the Great Plague on your European vacation.

  1. Running of the Bulls—Pamplona, Spain Every year, more than 40,000 bulls are taunted, stabbed repeatedly, and finally killed by the matador in front of a stadium full of onlookers. Before the bulls enter the ring, petroleum jelly is often rubbed in their eyes or they might be beaten with sandbags. And the Running of the Bulls isn’t any more humane to these animals, who often crash into the walls when racing down the narrow street. Instead of paying to see these animals slaughtered, join the Running of the Nudes campaign!
  2. Schwaben Park Chimpanzee Show—Baden-Württemberg, GermanyThe chimpanzee show at Schwaben Park is truly a house of horrors. The chimpanzees are forced to perform demeaning tricks on leashes and are often trained to perform with regular beatings or the use of shock collars. Instead of paying to see these animals perform confusing tricks that they don’t understand, visit a non-animal theme park.
  3. Donkey Rides—Beaches All Over the U.K.Sunning on the beach is great for us humans: We can take a quick dip or catch a bite to eat when we’re too hot or hungry. But it’s pure hell for donkeys who are confined to the beach and forced to cart children around in the hot sand. Some donkey-ride operators at beach resorts like Bridlington and Blackpool even keep the donkeys chained together at all times. Instead of taking a donkey ride, swim in the sea or build a sandcastle.
  4. Berlin Zoo—Berlin, GermanyThis zoo might be known best as the home of Knut, the polar bear that the Berlin Zoo mercilessly paraded around in front of media cameras and throngs of visitors. More recently, however, zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz has been accused of slaughtering the zoo’s animals and selling their body parts to be used in Chinese medicines. Berlin is loaded with history; visit a museum or the great Berlin Wall instead!
  5. Edinburgh Zoo—Edinburgh, Scotland In 2000, a number of endangered Arabian antelopes were bred and then destroyed by Edinburgh Zoo officials. Clearly, zoo officials don’t have animals’ best interests in mind. Instead of the zoo, we recommend visiting a loch, a castle, or the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And if you’re a wildlife lover, go deer-spotting!
  6. Mediterraneo Marine Park—White Rocks, Malta The Mediterraneo Marine Park uses bottlenose dolphins in performances and offers visitors the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Unfortunately, visitors are often unaware that these dolphins are captured in the wild or imported from conflict-ridden countries. A great alternative is to take a dolphin- and whale-spotting holiday that doesn’t involve capturing or handling these animals.

Posted by Jennifer Cierlitsky

Commenting is closed.
  • Geoff says:

    “People are just so inhumane nowadays its absolutely shocking” writes Colin above. Yes I just add the one word Guantanamo. Of course we are right to get worked up about the way that various nations treat animals but animals rights are human rights are not entirely separate spheres. Caged animals are abhorrent but so too are caged humans.

  • Colin says:

    People are just so inhumane nowadays its absolutely shocking. All the mistreatment of animals don’t go unnoticed GOD is watching and those people that make poor animals suffer will suffer in their own way. BETTER TREATMENT FOR ANIMALS PLEASE……..THIS IS A WORLDWIDE SHOUTOUT!

  • Justyn says:

    At our house we do not support animals used as entertainment. My six year old knows that when a circus comes to town we won’t be going and he knows why I think it is important to tell children the truth age appropriate truth so that they can feel the compassion in their own hearts. To Kerry who said ” If only everyone could be as compassionate and loving toward animals as we are” Compassion also includes people and by saying “good” or feeling “happy” that the people involved in the bull fight got hurt only adds to violence. It is when humans find true compassion for themselves and other humans that we will have a humanity that sees that all life is valuable and that hurtingtorturing animals is ethicallymorally and spiritually wrong.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Good points Bruce. We have to cherish the animal defenders wherever they arethere is good and bad in every country. Keep up the good work!

  • vegancoin says:

    Performing animals know only a life of captivity loneliness and painful abuse at the hands of humans. This is clearly inhumane and brutal there can be no valid excuse for the emotional and physical abuse heaped upon these innocents. Yet these animals suffer throughout their entire lives only to pander to all manner of human weaknesses emotional insecurities and the almighty dollar. It would seem that apathy and spoonfed arrogance knows no bounds.

  • Kerry says:

    I began watching that same show on animal planet. I did see the bull jump into the crowd but I turned it off after that because I can’t take seeing such cruelty to animals. I agree with everyone who believes those people got what they deserved and I will be the one to say its GOOD if they got hurt. But that’s not going to stop them from continuing that disgusting tradition. It’s sad to know that humans are so cruel. If only everyone could be as compassionate and loving toward animals as we are…

  • bruce says:

    i’m mexican and i’m ashamed of the bull fights i’m really sorry but kate my country it’s not so ugly it’s a very beautiful country with great people that are tryin to save this poors animals a really growing community of PETA and other animalprotection organizations members are here. So this is not a filthy country like you say. Sorry!

  • marysol says:

    I don’t find it a bit amusing to watch ANY animal being somewhere else than their natural habitat. Even though it might be safer for them to be in captivity since so many people think hunting or fishing is a fun sport. It really sickens me when people make a big deal about 1 animal attack on a human when humans kill thousands of innocent animals for food for fur for “fun” etc. I live in Las Vegas. A few casinos use animals to attract tourists. Dolphins lions tigers sharks and many species of fish are all victims not of the casinos but of the people who pay to see then suffer. It is not entertainment IT IS SICK!!

  • Pat McC says:

    Zoos and circuses were established before people had television or internet and were unable to observe animals unless they took a safari. Now anyone can go online and see pictures of any bird or animal that exists on this planet. There is no need for any zoo or circus to keep these wonderful animals in a wretched confinement. They need to be reintroduced to their proper habitat and released. Nowdays zoos and circuses are obsolete inhumane animal collections. Animals need to live in the wild if they are able or to live under controlled safe semiwild conditions if they are disabled or aged.

  • BARBARA says:


  • Charmaine says:

    I agree the bullfighter got what he deserved he wanted to torture and kill that poor animal! And the spectators are no better they actually pay to watch this and thereby support this CRUEL tradition!!

  • Judith FFFA says:

    BBR I watched the same program on Animal Planet. It was just awful. This poor bull was just terrified. When he became stuck the look in his eyes were a question as if he were saying what am I doing here what are they doing to me someone help me please. Needless to say I became enraged. I only wish he could have done a lot more damage than he did. In fact I prayed that he would. But not hurt the child for those kind of parents that allow a toddler to witness such cruelty and horror are doing a great job of fucking their child up themselves. For anyone that sits in those stands to watch such cruelty deserves that same cruelty to be done to them. Check out PETAS video about Bullfighting if you have the stomach to. Peace for all animals! Most of my heroes wear masks!

  • kate says:

    I made my way to Mexico once in my life for a “vacation” and will never return because of this bull fighting “tradition”. Not only is it a filthy country but they treat their animals like crap. BBR I’m sorry but I believe the bull fighter completely deserved to be injured..he was willing to torment torture and slaughter that poor creature! Paybacks a btch!

  • Ken says:

    We are truly a brutish ignorant species teetering on the edge of oblivion. A different term for kind compassionate treatment should replace the term “humane”. Perhaps “anamane” as too high a proportion of humans give their species a bad name. I’m going to go hug my dog.

  • BBR says:

    On a show called “Untamed Uncut” that comes on Animal Planet they showed a video of a Bull fight in Mexico. It’s part of their tradition as is Spain’s. And they refuse to give it up because hell what is anyone without TRADITION?! So this bull was going to die by being stabbed to death. However he got his revenge. He jumped over the 5 foot wall that went around the stadium. There were thousands of people there and none other the famiily of the bull fighter right in the front rows. I don’t think it’s funny what happened people getting hurt BUT hey I don’t think the bull getting stabbed to death all in the name of tradition is funny either. So in a sense the people got what was coming to them. Kinda like when someone taunts an animal and wonders why it attacked them. Gee if these people only had a brain.