With an astounding 9.1% of global GDP coming from travel and tourism according to BSR Consulting, it is clear that we all love to see new places, experience different cultures, and make new friends. The UN estimates that international tourist arrivals will reach 1.8 billion annually by 2030. Wow. That’s a lot of free peanuts and checked baggage fees! Numbers like these may not mean anything to most of us except that we need to get our seat assignments ASAP for any upcoming trips. But to an exciting and progressive international animal welfare organization like FAADA (www.faada.org) in Spain, all these travelers mean one thing—more opportunities to change the world and make it a better place for animals.
Ms. Humane Advisor first learned about FAADA in Costa Rica when their representative Giovanna Constantini presented an overview of FAADA’s Responsible Tourism (http://turismo-responsable.com/
) campaign at a WSPA conference.
Giovanna Constantini - FAADA
I was immediately impressed by the passion, commitment and creativity that this organization puts into their mission of leveraging the power of tourism to help animals.
So I thought I’d check back in with the folks at FAADA to see what they have been doing in 2012 so far and learn more about the people who make it happen to share with my readers.
MARCH 2012 INTERVIEW WITH FAADA PR COORDINATOR JENNIFER BERENGUERAS
I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Jennifer Berengueras, Public Relations Coordinator for FAADA in Spain.
Jennifer Berengueras - FAADA PR
Jennifer has dedicated her career to helping animals and is deeply committed to educating the travel industry and travelers on how their support can make a difference for animals. At university, she concentrated her studies in environmental science, ecology and species conservation which help her craft FAADA programs that present ecologically and biodiversity-friendly solutions for tourism. Along with contributing to ongoing FAADA campaigns such as helping local animal shelters, rescuing and adopting out companion animals, rescuing wild animals from the exotic pet trade, and campaigning for the protection of wild animals held in circuses and zoos, Jennifer has campaigns planned for 2012 to inform people of the negative consequences of abandoning turtles in city parks, of the inhumane effects of using wild animals for advertising, and of the problems of captive dolphins and other cetaceans in marine animal exhibits. Whew! I’m tired just reading about all the good work she’s doing!
FAADA Saves Tortugas!
Impressively, Jennifer explains that FAADA has been instrumental in big projects such as working towards the ban of bull fighting in the region of Catalunya in Spain but says she is also very proud of the smaller accomplishments which she feels lead to a better world for animals. These include getting many towns not to accept circuses with wild animals and working with clothing companies not to use fur in their products. Also, for their Responsible Tourism campaign, FAADA has convinced many travel agencies to stop booking animal attractions for their customers such as elephant rides or swimming with the dolphins.
FAADA’s For the Protection of Dolphins Campaign
Jennifer, I have to say that I think your small accomplishments are looking quite extraordinary in Ms. Humane Advisor’s opinion!
I asked Jennifer if there was one story of an animal that especially touched her and though she was quick to say that every animal FAADA has helped holds a special place in her heart; she did share a story about two elderly circus tigers that were rescued. When the tigers were taken to a spacious sanctuary to live the rest of their lives in freedom and with dignity, Jennifer recalled seeing one of the tiger’s first reactions. “I will never forget Nepal’s reaction when he literally bumped into a flower (the first one, sadly, he’d seen in the 14 years of his life), the way he looked at it, touched it and started playing with it. Moments like this make all our efforts worth it!”
FAADA’s InfoCircos Campaign
Amen to that, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing Nepal’s story. Hearing about these moments keep me motivated too.
Jennifer’s work with FAADA has exposed her to many cruel practices towards animals but she remains optimistic. “Most people do things that harm animals, either directly or indirectly, because of a lack of information. Most times people don’t think that for them to eat ham, for example, an animal has been caged and deprived of even the most basic movements like turning around. People don’t think that for them to ride on an elephant, it have previously been trained through a brutal method they call “breaking their soul.” People are unaware that the trimming of their coat’s hood is made of the fur of a fox that was caged and suffered [to] madness. And [there's] a long, long list of things we do in our everyday life and for which we ignore their consequences on animals.” In Jennifer’s opinion, the best thing someone can do to make a difference is to be informed; read, learn, and act accordingly.
FAADA’s Anti-Fur Campaign
As you know, Ms. Humane Advisor is also an eternal optimist so I had to ask Jennifer if she had one wish for animals and the world, what would it be? She said “I wish one day humans can live in harmony with the rest of inhabitants of the Planet. A lifestyle that does not harm animals is possible and…easy!” Jennifer is a woman after my own heart.
Another exciting project that FAADA has put together recently is an incredible tour and vacation itinerary (http://faada.org/noticia-502
) with one of its partner travel agencies. It will be a 100 percent animal-friendly trip to Costa Rica where the tourists will visit local shelters and animal welfare organizations. Even better, half of the price of the trip will be used to help animals!
FAADA’s 100% Animal Friendly Vacation!
These are the kinds of creative solutions for animal welfare that make Ms. Humane Advisor very, very happy.
Thank you, Jennifer, for telling us about FAADA and your work. It was an honor to have had this opportunity to hear about just a few of FAADA’s innovative and successful campaigns. I hope my readers enjoyed it as much as I did.
I LIKE FAADA!