One of the world's top travel companies is ending its tours to many of the planet's top animal attractions. STA Travel, which provides holidays, flights and accommodation for 2.5 million students a year, has decided it will no longer organize tours to places where animals are not free. This means it will not arrange elephant rides or trips to the Tiger Temple in Thailand, as well as tours to SeaWorld in Florida and California. The company said it would only go to places it knew were good to animals. Many STA customers complained about the tours to some places, so it started to review its animal tours. A company spokeswoman said: "We take this seriously and listen carefully to feedback from animal welfare experts."
SeaWorld was disappointed with STA's decision. It wanted STA to see the high standards of animal care at both SeaWorlds. It also said activities by animal rights groups may have made STA make this decision. A SeaWorld spokesperson said: "There is no higher priority for SeaWorld than the safety of our employees and guests and the welfare of our animals." STA said it would look at more places that have animals. It said: "We are very much at the beginning of this journey. It is really important we do it over time, understand what the issues are and work with organisations that really understand those issues." The animal rights group PETA says animals such as dolphins all suffer at theme parks.