Air, Freight News

Airlines develop a conscience after Cecil shooting

[ August 6, 2015   //   ]

The world’s airlines have been falling over themselves in announcing bans on the transport of hunting trophies in the wake of the Cecil the Lion incident in Zimbabwe. Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer sparked a worldwide furore when he shot Cecil after the popular beast was allegedly lured out of a game reserve by his Zimbabwean partners.

With campaigns and petitions flooding the social media, and Walter Palmer reportedly now in hiding, most of the world’s air carriers now say that they will no longer accept animal trophies as cargo shipments, even where the animals concerned are not covered by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) legislation. These include Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines in the US, where hunting animals is still regarded as a birthright by many.

Delta for example announced an immediate ban on the shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight, adding that it already checked carefully that cargo complied with regulations on protected species. Delta would also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with government agencies and other organizations.

Other carriers, including Lufthansa and Emirates SkyCargo claim that they had already banned hunting trophy shipments, before the Cecil incident.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo said it welcomed the other airlines’ ban on the carriage of hunting trophies and called on the airline cargo industry to adopt a strict ethical cargo policy to clearly identify shipments not acceptable for carriage. It said it adopted its own ethical policy over three years ago, cover not only CITES-protected species but other hunting trophies as well. Virgin added that an industry-wide agreement that all airlines would be duty-bound to implement would eliminate shipments such as hunting trophies and endangered species, as well as removing confusion and inconsistency from the market.

It says that CITES and IATA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in June to create a formal framework for standards and best practices.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s ethical cargo policy also bans Bluefin tuna, shark fins, animals for research purposes, hatching eggs and day-old chicks, meat or products from Cetaceans, and furs and pelts.

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