Publication Date

Summer 6-10-2019

Submission Type

Refereed academic paper for presentation



Justice tourism is emerging to be a topic of considerable interest as scholars strive to emphasise several important themes around the fair distribution of resources and benefits between and within societies (Mihalic & Fennell, 2014; Smith & Duffy, 2003). There is the belief that tourism must be ethical, share equity, underscore solidarity between hosts and guests, and place emphasis on respect, self-determination, as well as benefits on many different social, economic, and cultural levels (Scheyvens, 2002). An example of this type of research comes from Jamal and Camargo (2014), who discuss how limited distributive justice can be within destinations as dominant bodies protect their own economic interest to the exclusion of the destination’s inhabitants. These scholars argue that “Just Destinations” need to place priority on an ethic of care, fairness, as well as equitable tourism policies that prevent marginalisation and peripherality of disadvantaged groups. Procedural justice to Jamal and Camargo is also important in the development of Just Destinations, because of the incorporation of the incorporation of processes, polices and strategies that enable members of the community to be involved in participatory decision-making.

Justice in tourism should also mean adherence to principles of responsibility and sustainability (Isaac & Hodge, 2011), especially given the emphasis placed on justice through the UNs Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 to 2030 (Fennell & Cooper, in press). SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions articulates the need for the promotion of “peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (UN, 2019). What is troubling, however, is the reticence of both tourism scholars and practitioners to expand the circle of morality to include the interests of animals, who are so thoroughly ingrained within the fabric of the tourism industry. Animals used in tourism, quite frankly, are ascribed only instrumental value in their use for entertainment and commercial purposes. For example, the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, even though reported to be an instrument for tourism responsibility and sustainability, doesn’t mention animals in any meaningful way (Fennell, 2014). As such, newer and more inclusive definitions of sustainability and responsibility are required in moving the tourism agenda forward.

Although non-human animals (animals) have been used in tourism-related organizations and experiences for millennium, various forms of modern-day media have led to increasing awareness of the plight of captive and wild animals. Considering that the number of international tourism arrivals recently achieved 1.4 billion, it is unlikely that the number of animals utilized as entertainment for tourists will soon subside. This situation has important ethical considerations for humanity, generally, and the tourism industry, specifically. As such, animal advocacy and sanctuary organizations play an important role in creating awareness, influencing and encouraging better human behaviour, and encouraging and enabling justice for animals. Consequently, this research sought to understand how animal advocacy and sanctuary organizations define and apply the principles associated with justice, specifically as it relates to their care of and/or advocacy for animals used in tourism-related ventures and experiences. We employ case study methods to achieve this objective. Understanding how animal-focused organizations define “justice” is an important starting point on the road to measuring the extent to which justice for animals, specifically those used in tourism, is a focus of and achievable objective in their work to improve the plight of animals.

Keywords: Tourism, justice, animals, contractarianism, animal sanctuary


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