Taking Selfies with Animals is a Form of Abuse, Say Prague Authorities
The city is pushing hard to rebrand its image as a high-culture destination, and this includes caring for animal rights
Starting today, the tourism authorities in Prague are starting to place posters on the city streets, which will warn residents and tourists to abstain from taking photos with show animals in the city centre or face the possibility of fines.
The reason for the new ordinance stems from a desire to curb the unsavoury practice of exhibiting wild animals, such as owls, parrots and snakes, by immoral touts in the historic centre of the city. Turning these animals into show props stresses them unnecessarily and exposes them to long hours of heat or cold, depending on the season.
The problem is that tourists also have a role to play in this, as they are the ones creating the demand for such services, which is why the city authorities have decided to raise awareness about an issue that may seem innocent at first glance but is actually quite problematic.
“Enjoy Respect Prague”
According to the Animal Protection and Cruelty Act, anyone can turn to the environmental department of the relevant city district with a complaint. Help with solutions is also provided by the Czech Environmental Inspectorate, which can determine whether it is legal to possess the animals. The inspectorate cooperates with the Prague Police.
Apparently, showing off animals by street vendors has been an ongoing practice for years and the city has also been trying to do something about it by imposing fines.
However, enforcing the law has been difficult because tourists often left the city without paying the sanction.
The measure protecting animal rights is part of a larger initiative to rebrand the image of the Czech capital from a party place to a destination, which should be synonymous with refined culture and safe for families.
The name of this initiative is “Enjoy Respect Prague” and it follows in the footsteps of other European cities trying to bring about a more civilized form of tourism based on understanding and reverence for the local norms and heritage.
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