UK Travel Company Takes Responsible Step By Removing Zoo Trips From Their Itineraries

By Jess Murray Truth Theory

A travel company in the UK has become the first to remove zoo trips from its holidays. Responsible Travel claimed that there was “no justifiable reason” to keep animals in captivity, and therefore has made the strong decision to stop promoting zoos, whilst also laying down guidelines for any animal facilities that it will continue to work with. Their recent announcement was backed by the Born Free Foundation as well as actor and animal welfare campaigner Joanna Lumley.

Their four key reasons for the decision were “Issues in animal welfare have long been recognised, there are many ways of educating people about wildlife that don’t involve keeping animals in captivity, while some zoos do fund worthwhile conservation programmes, on average zoos are only encouraged to spend 3% of their expenditure on conservation, and about 90% of animals kept in zoos are not endangered.”

The travel company has removed six trips that include visits to zoos from its website so far, and are conducting an “in-depth audit” of captive animal facilities that are included in travel trips that they are linked with. This will be an investigation into whether these places comply with their new animal welfare guidelines. The site will continue to promote any legitimate animal sanctuaries and rescue centres for animals that cannot be returned to the wild, as long as there is no captive breeding taking place. It will also promote “genuine endangered species conservation centres”.

Responsible Travel currently works with 375 tour operators worldwide, and is the first travel company to make this decision to cut ties with zoos. This move comes at a time when tour operators are coming under increasing pressure to take a stand against animal attractions, meaning that hopefully others will follow in the leading footsteps of Responsible Travel.

Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis said in a blog post on the issue: “Our conclusion is that 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. In our view, rather than being self-proclaimed conservation organisations they are in fact businesses that exploit animals for profit. We hope that other travel businesses and tour operators will join us in creating a movement for change that recognises that zoos are outdated, unethical and unnecessary.”

IMAGE CREDIT:tashka2000 / 123RF Stock Photo

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