Animal Rights-Led Boycott Will Hurt . . .Eco-Tourism

Voice of the Times / Anchorage Daily News / December 11, 2003

THE ANIMAL RIGHTS group Friends of Animals is threatening Alaska with a national tourism boycott if the aerial wolf control program goes ahead.

Such a boycott might occur and could be expensive for Alaska's tourism industry, but the irony is that the people it would hurt most here would be those most likely to support or sympathize with their cause.

Visitors who come here to hunt and fish would almost certainly come anyway - and could even be encouraged by publicity about wolves, moose, caribou and small airplanes- but those most likely to stay away are the eco-tourists.

An animal-rights led boycott would keep business away from those who guide kayak trips and offer whale watching, bear watching, bird watching and the rest. Not all eco-tourism operators sympathize with the animal-rights groups, of course, but the "non-consumptive" visitors that are the core of their market are the ones most likely to heed the call to stay away.

Don't expect Friends of Animals to cancel their boycott in deference to their human friends; that's not the way they do things.

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