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Field Trip Tips

Your teacher is passing out permission slips for the next field trip, but uh-oh … it’s to a place that’s not animal-friendly. It can be uncomfortable to learn that your class is planning a field trip to somewhere that isn’t good for animals—whether it’s SeaWorld, a circus that uses animals, or a roadside zoo.

Luckily, you’re not alone. We’ve got some solutions for you to try:

Suggest an Alternative Field Trip 

If your class is going to a circus that uses animals …

Tell your teacher about the cruel training that animals go through in the circus. Animals are beaten to force them to perform tricks, kept inside tiny cages, and forced to travel from town to town.

There are lots of animal-free circuses that showcase amazing human performers who choose to perform, unlike lions, tigers, and elephants. Show your teacher this list of other circuses, and ask if your class can visit one of them instead:

If your class is going to an aquarium …

Roadside zoos and aquariums teach visitors the wrong lesson: that it’s acceptable to confine animals, deprive them of freedom of movement, and breed and group them as we—not they—please. Some go insane from frustration and loneliness. This isn’t the way to learn about animals!

Instead, suggest visiting a reputable animal sanctuary. Animals in sanctuaries have often been rescued from cruel situations. The emphasis is on the animals, not making money—the animals come first, not profit.

If your class is going to a farm where animals are used for food …

Unfortunately, dairy farms or pig farms are popular destinations for class trips. No one wants to see cows whose babies were taken away from them so that humans could take their milk or pigs who will be killed for meat.

Instead, suggest going to a crop farm where you can see how foods like blueberries or carrots are grown. You might even get to take some yummy food home.

You can also suggest going to a farm sanctuary to see how happy, rescued animals, such as chickens, cows, and turkeys live. You’ll probably get to interact with them and find out that they’re a lot like the dogs and cats we share our homes with!

If your teacher won’t change the trip …

If you’ve explained to your teacher why a planned trip is cruel to animals and offered a suggestion of an alternative destination but your teacher still won’t change the plan, ask if you can skip the trip. If there’s a required assignment to go along with the trip, ask if you can complete an alternative assignment for the credit.

Good Field Trips

  • Animal shelters
  • Botanical gardens
  • Crop farms
  • Factories where unique items are made in your town
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Farm sanctuaries
  • Fire and police stations
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Nature parks
  • Nature reserves
  • Planetariums
  • Radio or TV stations
  • Recycling centers
  • Wildlife sanctuaries

Bad Field Trips

  • Aquariums
  • Circuses that use animals
  • Farms with animals used for food
  • Petting zoos
  • SeaWorld and other marine parks
  • Touch tanks
  • Roadside zoos

Field trips are all about getting to travel beyond your classroom to learn something new. If you visit somewhere that doesn’t treat animals well, all you and your classmates will learn is that it’s OK for humans to mistreat animals.

If your class is planning something that you don’t agree with, speak up. Sometimes, all it takes is one voice!