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Animal welfare guidelines for Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences go beyond the typical tours and classes. Designed and led by inspiring locals, hosts use their expertise to immerse each guest in a unique world. For experiences that include animals, Airbnb is committed to protecting their welfare.

These guidelines were created in consultation with World Animal Protection, an organization committed to improving the lives of animals. They apply to experiences involving wild animals in the wild and in captivity, as well as domesticated animals under human care. We believe all animals should be respected for their intrinsic value and role in the global ecosystem, so experiences that violate these guidelines will be removed from Airbnb.

Wild animals in the wild

Airbnb does not allow experiences involving intentional direct contact with wild animals in the wild including, but not limited to: petting, feeding, or riding animals, except for certain validated Social Impact Experiences.

Animals in captivity

Animal Welfare Principles

Good animal welfare is measured by fitness and a sense of well-being. Airbnb hosts commit that their experiences strive to ensure the highest quality of life for animals involved, and at a minimum comply with the industry standard, the Five Freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger or thirst with access to fresh water and an appropriate diet to maintain full health
  • Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  • Freedom from pain, injury, or disease by treating animals respectfully and prompt access to veterinary care
  • Freedom to express normal behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and allowing for company of the animal’s own kind
  • Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Rescues and sanctuaries

There are many places that may call themselves rescues and sanctuaries but they don’t always operate in the animals’ best interest. Airbnb does not allow sanctuaries to host experiences if they:

  • Use wild animals for direct interactions with travelers, or in performances or shows
  • Buy or sell wild animals or products derived from them
  • Breed wild animals, unless they are part of an official, recognized breeding program where the animals are being responsibly released back into the wild

Exceptions may be made for certain validated Social Impact Experiences.

Domesticated and farmed animals

Domesticated animals must be given proper shelter, care, food, and water. Any condition that impairs their welfare, as outlined by the Five Freedoms above, must be addressed promptly.

When interacting with working animals (horses, mules, yaks, camels, and donkeys):

  • Never overload a working animal, e.g., carry no more than one rider per animal or 20 percent of their body weight
  • Never overwork a working animal, e.g., do not ride in extreme weather conditions
  • The animal’s eyes should be alert and clear

When interacting with domesticated animals:

  • Proper handling gives the freedom for the animal to disengage from direct contact when they want to
  • Travelers should not feed stray or free-roaming domesticated animals unless part of a validated Social Impact Experience

Zoos and aquariums

Only zoos and aquariums with accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) are allowed to host an experience. Airbnb does not allow direct contact or performances with wild animals even in these cases.

Dog sledding

Animal welfare must not be compromised when it comes to dog sledding. This includes the dogs being handled humanely, being physically fit and trained for the activity, and having adequate living situations that protect them from variable weather.

Sled dogs should be socialized properly to encourage appropriate behavior towards humans and other animals. Euthanasia must not be used as a means of population control for healthy, rehomeable sled dogs.

Prohibited activities

Airbnb prohibits activities that cause animals harm, including but not limited to:

Elephant interactions

Airbnb does not allow riding, bathing, or feeding elephants.

These activities may seem harmless, but captive elephants go through a stressful training process to be able to interact with humans. This can include being restrained, use of a bullhook, and being overworked. Airbnb promotes ethical elephant experiences that commit to a high standard of elephant welfare and conservation.

Big cat interactions

Airbnb does not allow experiences involving direct interactions with big cats. Activities like big cat walking, cub petting, and selfies with big cats promote poor animal treatment and are prohibited.

Wild animals in restaurants, cafes, and entertainment venues

Airbnb does not allow experiences involving wild animals performing for entertainment purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, dolphin shows, bears riding bicycles, charming cobra shows, tigers in captivity at restaurants, and exotic pet cafes.

Marine mammals in captivity

Airbnb does not allow experiences involving marine mammals in captivity, except where certain rescue or rehabilitation is conducted by a validated Social Impact Experience. It is unnatural and detrimental for marine mammals like dolphins, whales, sea lions, and polar bears to be kept in captivity for entertainment purposes.

Wildlife products

Airbnb does not allow experiences involving the purchase or consumption of wild animal products. This includes the purchase of souvenirs and products like tortoiseshell, skins, horns, scales, and ivory, and food products like shark fin soup, turtle soup, whale meat, bear bile, civet coffee, bush meat, snake blood, and tiger wine.

Sporting events

Airbnb does not allow experiences involving certain sports involving animals. This includes, but is not limited to, canned and trophy hunting, bull-fighting and running, bear baiting, cockfighting, elephant polo, rodeo, greyhound racing, dog sled racing, and crocodile wrestling.

Responsible Travel

We encourage hosts and guests to think carefully about their role and responsibility in ensuring animal welfare. In addition to the requirements above, here are some other things to consider:

Selfies and animals as photo props

Photos should not be captured at the expense of a wild animal, even in captivity. Airbnb prohibits experiences where a wild animal is forcibly held or restrained for a photo.

Wild animals of all shapes and sizes

Wild animals come in all shapes and sizes, from tigers and bears to sloths and koalas. Responsible wild animal encounters entail keeping a safe and respectful distance, not chasing the animals, keeping the noise to a minimum, and leaving no waste behind.

Negative training

Negative punishment when training is discouraged. This includes, but is not limited to, being drugged, chained, starved, or prodded with sticks. Training should be rewards-based.

Conduct beyond the specific experience

Being a responsible host goes beyond the experience on our platform. Airbnb will not allow hosts whose broader business or services do not comply with these guidelines.

Experiences that violate these guidelines, threaten the safety of our hosts or guests, or risk the welfare and / or conservation of animals will be removed from the platform. These guidelines may be updated from time to time, so please be sure to check back regularly. Note: these guidelines exclude fishing, crabbing, clamming, and similar activities.