Members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) have re-affirmed their long-standing commitment to improving animal welfare standards worldwide with the launch of an initiative which will see a detailed assessment of tourist suppliers against the newly-revised Travelife Animal Attraction Guidelines.

The guidelines, prepared with the help of leading animal welfare organizations and industry associations, cover situations where customers interact with animals as part of their holiday experience. The aim is progressively to raise the standards of animal welfare, promote awareness of the importance of conservation, eradicate poor practice, and eliminate activities which do not contribute to the protection and preservation of the species in the wild.

In a statement, Chris Thompson, head of Responsible Tourism for the FTO said, “We have been working very closely with organizations such as the Born Free Foundation and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society to develop a long-term strategy for raising standards, and we are ready to send a firm message across the industry. Tour operators fully recognize the importance of phasing out any activities they find which may be detrimental to the well-being of individual animals and conservation of the species and will be working closely with their suppliers in the months to come to ensure that the Travelife guidelines are followed. We are urging animal attractions everywhere to work with us in our mission to give the world’s animals a better deal.”