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Travel Giant Says No To Animal Exploitation

Travel website TripAdvisor says it's taking a stand against animal exploitation by no longer selling bookings to attractions where travellers can make physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

The policy, six months in the making, was formed with input from tourism, animal welfare and conservation groups including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Many of the millions of travellers who post reviews to the company's website have been concerned about animal welfare for years, company spokesman Brian Hoyt said.

The company, based in Needham, also will start providing links on its site to take users to educational research on animal welfare and conservation.

"TripAdvisor's new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,'' said Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor's president.

But the president of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums said she was ``disappointed'' TripAdvisor never consulted her Virginia-based organisation, whose members include branches of the SeaWorld and Six Flags theme parks and dozens of other marine life parks, aquariums and zoos internationally.

"It's an unjust demonisation of the interactive programs that are at the heart of modern zoo and aquarium programs,'' president Kathleen Dezio said.

"They give guests the magic, memorable experiences that make them want to care about these animals and protect them in the wild.''

AAP

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