Mission Statement

The aim of Ethical Bucket List is to inspire travellers to opt for ethical choices in relation to animal tourist destinations / attractions and ensure that the value in tourism is focused on restorative and conservation animal projects. We will achieve this by raising awareness of the cruel realities and dark undertones that support much of the animal tourism/entertainment industry. A checklist with criteria is also available providing help in identifying which attractions may be unethical. Our ethical criteria will assist travellers to share their experiences, both good and bad, to our platform, which will create a database of user-generated reviews. In addition to this, Ethical Bucket List will offer a free consultancy service to investigate potential destinations/attractions which are against our ethical criteria.

What Ethical Bucket List do…

Wildlife tourism is worth a staggering £200bn annually, which involves 550,000 captive animals. A vast number of these animals live in unnatural, cruel and hellish conditions. When surveyed about visiting animal tourist destinations, an overwhelming majority of people identified as love of animals as their prime motivator. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the cruelty they support when visiting such destinations. Ethical Bucket List aims to inspire travellers to make ethical choices in relation to animal tourism.

As a highly profitable market, there is great potential to focus the value of this type to tourism towards ethical and conservation led initiatives. This relies on a culture of awareness that allows ‘animal lovers’ to use the power they have as consumers to shift the nature of wildlife tourism. This shift should be towards a cruelty free model that actively supports rehabilitation and conservation.

Ethical Bucket List provides a platform for travellers to review the destinations they have visited, in the context of an ethical framework that relies on four key criteria. These reviews will form a database that can be accessed to provide advice/awareness to other ethically minded travellers. In addition to this platform we encourage people to contact us to assist assessing potential trips/events/excursions/etc.

Whilst our main body of work is web-based we do, on occasion, support other means of raising awareness, such as letter writing/social media/tweet storm campaigns, protesting, marching and lobbying.


  • Nature and extent of contact – is the contact overbearing or stressful for the animal; for example, overcrowding, riding, washing the animal for the benefit of visitors, unnaturally close contact such as selfies / tigers or lion clubs, painting animals, climbing on the animal, sitting on the animal, blessings or making animals beg…..
  • Unnatural behaviour – such as painting animals, playing football, dancing, riding bikes, skating, water tricks, juggling, snake -charming, boxing…..
  • Instruments of control or restraint – were the animals submissive as a result of fear or did you witness the use of bullhooks, nails, spikes, pokers, sticks, shackles, chains, ropes…
  • Overall impression – was the animal’s welfare and comfort more important than your entertainment? Was there an educational element included.

The list above is not exhaustive and if you have witnessed any other treatment or behaviour that you feel is cruel or unnatural, please indicate.     

Leave Nothing But Footprints

Submit a review about a tourism experience you have taken part in. Positive reviews help other tourists find ethical sanctuaries. Negative reviews help us fight back against suffering of animals in captivity.

Submit A Review

What is an ethical experience?

Ethical Bucket List believe animals should remain in their natural habitat. The ideal form of this conservation led animal tourism, is monitoring and observing them in this habitat with non-invasive intervention from humans. Issues, such as habitat loss, human animal conflict, decline in species and poaching for animal products and unethical entertainment/tourism are occasions when this hands-off approach is not always possible. As a consequence of these issues there are many animals now living in protected lands, under guard, monitored and directed away from habitable areas, ethical breeding programmes, rehabilitation centres and sanctuaries. In order to protect and rescue animals has resulted in many having to rely on semi-captive conditions for survival.

How to find an ethical experience

Some pointers before you book your experience

  • There are some very obvious experience’s that are unethical, such as street entertainment, begging animals, animals used as photographers’ props and elephant rides. These should be avoided.
  • Check standards and affiliations – does the facility sign up to any environmental/welfare standards? who are they partnered/associated with?
  • Background checks – ethical sanctuaries/conservation led destinations will provide background information on their rescues and work. An ethical facility will aim to create awareness and provide education for the benefit of wildlife.
  • Ask questions – such as their aims, why they have been founded? Where their animals came from? How are they supporting rehabilitation and conservation?
  • TripAdvisor and social media – check their reviews and posts, especially photographs, for tell tale signs of unethical activities, such as riding, selfies, stressful contact, please see our key ethical criteria