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ATW Editor's Blog

Cecil Honor Roll call for airlines that ban animal trophies


If you’ve been following the news at all recently then you will be familiar with a Zimbabwe lion called Cecil and his fate. It’s not my place in this column to comment on that incident and the resulting outrage against the American who killed Cecil, but I would like to start an honor roll for those airlines that have banned the shipment of wild animal trophies in response.

Step forward Air France, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates Airline, Iberia, IAG Cargo, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa, South African Airways, Singapore Airlines and Qantas. [but see updates below re. SAA]

All of these airlines responded to a campaign by SumOfUs to ban the transport of animal trophies. Delta, the only US major passenger airline with direct US-Africa service, announced its new policy today with the following statement:

“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.”

South African implemented its ban in April, well before the Cecil controversy. BA and Emirates were quick followers.

To all these carriers, bravo!

Let me know if you are an airline that should be added to the Cecil Honor roll call.

UPDATE: With thanks to a quick response from reader Markus, it appears that SAA rescinded its ban in July. I am reaching out to SAA to confirm, but clearly they come off the Honor Roll if that is verified. ATW will create a Cecil Airline Honor Roll on our site tomorrow. Come on airlines, do the right thing and  earn your place there! K

UPDATE 2: SAA has indeed rescinded its ban, so is removed from the honor roll. Here's their statement: "South African Airways Cargo (SAA Cargo) has reviewed and reversed its decision to place an embargo on the transportation of hunting trophies which was limited to rhino, elephant, tiger and lion. 
The embargo was placed following incidents of false declarations and submission of falsified documentation for the shipment of some hunting trophies.  “As a responsible air transport service provider, we make an effort to ensure that our business is in harmony with government policy, compliant with international protocols and that the operational decisions we make must advance the interests of the company. Embargoes are placed occasionally influenced by circumstance at the time. These can also be lifted when situations change or improve,” said Tlali Tlali, South African Airways spokesperson.
Since the placement of the embargo in April 2015, SAA Cargo has been engaging with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on the issue. DEA is the custodian of hunting and transportation permits and key stakeholder in this matter.
“We have decided to lift the embargo after extensive engagements with the DEA and the commitment we received that the compliance and inspection areas will be strengthened to ensure that the risk of shipment of illicit goods and falsification of permits and documentation is eliminated,” said Tlali.
SAA issued a statement on 30 April 2015 about the embargo where it indicated that “SAA Cargo will keep the embargo in place until all other options have been considered and stricter control measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence”.  SAA is now satisfied that the additional measures are adequate to address the operational concerns it had and offers to continue to work together with the DEA in curbing the illegal transportation of wild life.
The embargo is lifted with immediate effect."

UPDATE 3: As of Tuesday, American Airlines and United Airlines have also banned the transport of animal trophies. American tweeted: "Effective immediately, we will no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies." American, United - welcome to the Honor Roll!

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