Airlines, Big Game Trophies: Delta, United, American, And Air Canada Stop Carrying Carcasses Of Hunted African Animals

Airlines that once carried big game trophies have banned doing so as protests against the hunting of African animals grows.

The Dallas Safari Club is requesting that Delta reconsider its decision on banning the shipment of big game animals that have been hunted. The organization believes that the airlines are “ill informed.” This is the same organization that auctioned off a $350,000 hunt for an endangered Black Rhino, which also made headlines and outraged the public. According to DSC, it used the money for conservation efforts.

CNN reports that as public outcry over the illegal killing of Cecil the lion ignited last week, several airlines are banning carrying big game trophies. These airlines include Delta, United, American, and Air Canada. Additionally, the airlines say that their bans also apply to animals that were legally hunted.

According to a press release from the safari group, the airlines’ decision to ban carcasses of animals — such as lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo — is seen in their view as “arbitrary,” since transporting the hunted animals is already adequately monitored by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The convention has an international agreement between a number of governments.

In a statement by the DSC on Monday, executive director Ben Carter says that the airlines banning big game trophies don’t understand the full scope of what “legal” hunting actually does.

“Legal hunting for these species is a conservation tool that sustains and enhances, not threatens, populations of these animals.”

The DSC says that populations of endangered animals, in part, are increasing “thanks for conservation measures that include selective hunting.” It defends big game hunting by adding that the African hunting industry brings in as much as $200 million to the economy.

As CNN included in its report, the club was going to auction off an elephant hunt earlier this year, but decided to cancel it.

In a piece published on the Washington Post, shipping companies like UPS and FedEx are in a different position on the handling of big game trophies. UPS says it doesn’t let public opinion sway what they will and will not ship.

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UPS Public Relations Director Susan Rosenberg wrote an email explaining the shipping company’s stand on the issue — which is different from the airlines’ view on carrying big game trophies.

“There are many items shipped in international commerce that may spark controversy. The views on what is appropriate for shipment are as varied as the audiences that hold these views.”

“UPS takes many factors under consideration in establishing its shipping policies, including the legality of the contents and additional procedures required to ensure compliance. We avoid making judgments on the appropriateness of the contents. All shipments must comply with all laws, including any relevant documentation from the shipper required in the origin and destination location of the shipments.”

FedEx doesn’t ship animal carcasses, but it “may accept legitimate shipments of parts for taxidermy purposes if they meet our shipping guidelines,” spokesman Jim McCluskey wrote in an email on Tuesday.

“These are legitimate shipments, not shipments that are illegally obtained. Our priority is to ensure we abide by laws and regulations for all shipments.”

[Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images]