BRITAIN sits atop a most awful, rampant market. Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) identifies 1,212 travel firms in the UK now promoting 300 overseas “attractions” where Asian elephants – majestic, complex, noble creatures – are systematically violently abused from little babies to the end of their tragic lives. Beatings, stabbings, starvation, overwork and psychological torment are their daily fare, violently “broken” for easy use in tourism to meet a demand driven by misleading advertising and ruthless greed.

Numerous other endangered species also suffer in today’s tourism: baby monkeys enslaved from the forests to a life of selfies and profile pics, tiger cubs just photo props then drugged and chained for life in tiny cages, “walking with lions” whose victims are sold on for “canned hunting”, dolphins and orcas confined in small pools to perform under great stress till death, ostriches brutalised for riding.

The United Kingdom has the opportunity to adopt crucial new measures to help end these horrors, so much driven by its home market. If enacted, the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill will ban domestic advertising and sales which promote practices in which elephants, big cats, apes, bears, dolphins, equines, birds and marine life are exploited, harmed and killed across the world for tourism profits.

So too will tourists benefit, avoiding death and catastrophic injury as sustained by thousands before, like Scots Gareth Crowe, and Andrea Taylor, both violently killed by stabbed, tormented captive elephants. They could be alive today had the deadly resorts they visited not been advertised in the UK. Andrea died at Thailand’s Nong Nooch resort, which is promoted by 120 UK travel firms.

The Bill throws a lifeline to many endangered species by steering this catastrophic market towards safe and ethical tourism. Public support is overwhelming, including 85% on average in every parliamentary constituency in Scotland, with just 2% opposed.

Yet the devolved government at Holyrood refuses to permit this legislation extending into Scotland. It supports the aims of the Bill but argues it has not been given sufficient time by Westminster to consider it.

Frustration about London’s rushed approach to consultation with the devolved administrations is noted. But the consequence of Scotland’s Government refusing to allow its Parliament to consider adopting these measures will be immeasurably to undermine their efficacy in the rest of the UK and, moreover, to cause Scotland to become a magnet, and a haven, for marketing of unethical, dangerous overseas venues formerly promoted in England.

STAE has pleaded with the Scottish Government not to consign these endangered, desperate species to ruination. This Bill takes a major step towards saving them. The Scottish Parliament should be allowed to consider the Bill. Or its Government should bring forward its own legislation without delay, before new unscrupulous markets root and flourish in its midst.

This is a law that Scotland, with its admirable animal welfare record, can champion. How tragic was such an opportunity for a world first by Scotland and the UK to be lost.”

Duncan McNair is CEO of Save The Asian Elephants. See