Sep 18, 2015 4:09 PM GMT
On Monday, Delta Air Lines — the only U.S. carrier with direct service to South Africa — issued the following statement that said it was banning the shipment of five type of large animals that are typically shipped as trophies:
Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight. Prior to this ban, Delta's strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species. Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.
The announcement came as debate over the killing of protected animals has continued, spurred on by the recent killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the Lion by a Minnesota dentist.
It also follows a massive online petition directed at the CEO of Delta Air Lines and signed by nearly 400,000 people asking the company "refuse to transport exotic animal hunting trophies." Chris Green, the Delta Diamond Medallion flyer with more than 650,000 miles under his belt who started it, said he was "thankful" that Delta announced the ban and called on other airlines to follow suit.
One of those airlines, South Africa Airlines, lifted its ban on the trophies just last week.
Delta isn't the only airline to have a policy on the shipment of such trophies as British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Air Canada all issued statements regarding their policies or change in policies.
A spokesperson for British Airways told Mashable via email, "We do not transport animal trophies of any kind." "We do not transport animal trophies of any kind." We have always adhered to the rules set out by the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty which puts in place safeguards for hundreds of species." A petition of the airline to ban the shipment of trophies and has accumulated nearly 20,000 signatures.
United Airlines told Mashable, "United restricts the shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies on our aircraft. [The ban on animals] that are not already protected species are effective immediately."
Late Monday evening, American Airlines, who doesn't fly to the continent of Africa, issued the following statement.
Southwest Airlines, which, like American, does not fly to Africa, replied to a request for comment by Mashable with a statement that included:
As we plan to extend our Cargo service into the near-international space, we are thoroughly reviewing and updating our polices where applicable. We are fully compliant with law and governmental regulations of any jurisdiction to, from, or through which the shipment may be carried, including those relating to the packing, carriage, or delivery of the shipment.
And on Tuesday morning, Air Canada issued a similar statement regarding their decision to no longer allow shipment of trophies.