News broke this week that two major travel companies are taking steps to prevent animal exploitation in the tourist industry.
British travel company Thomas Cook will no longer sell 16 of their animal attractions after a report revealed that they do not meet official welfare standards. The report found dolphins with badly damaged skin and heavily chained elephants showing signs of distress in five destinations.

Chief executive Peter Frankhauser said,

Our industry has not changed fast enough…By taking these attractions off sale, we are sending a message that we won’t accept anything less than full compliance with the welfare standards our customers would expect.

Freedom for Animals welcomes this announcement from Thomas Cook and hopes they will continue to take the lives of animals into consideration going forward.

Just a few days later it was announced that UK-based travel company Responsible Travel has stopped promoting trips that include visits to zoos on its website – the first travel company ever to publicly make such a move.

CEO Justin Francis gave these reasons for the decision:

Zoos are not appropriate in 2017. They are relics of the past, and the arguments to justify keeping animals in captivity no longer stand up. The sad reality is that the animals are held captive primarily for our entertainment not for reasons of conservation and it is time that this stopped.

We want to extend a huge well done to Responsible Travel! This decision makes great progress towards ending the exploitation of animals in the wildlife tourism and entertainment industry.

These stories follow other examples of changing attitudes as TripAdvisor, one of the world’s largest travel websites, took action in October last year and agreed to stop selling tickets for attractions where tourists are allowed direct contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

Freedom for Animals applauds this movement towards more compassionate tourism and thanks these companies for choosing to put animals first.