The U.S. might be one of the world’s largest trading nations in the world — with exports of goods and services of over $2.1 trillion in 2011 — but there’s one thing it’s trying not to ship anymore: hunting trophies.
After the fallout from Cecil the lion’s death, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines say they’ll no longer ship trophy hunters’ lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, or buffalo.
Delta was the first to make the move, announcing on August 3 that it’d stop accepting animals known in Africa as the “big five,” because they’re the most difficult to kill on foot. The Atlanta-based airline had said as recently as May that it’d continue to allow such shipments, so long as they were legal.
Delta also has the most flights out of any U.S. airline to Africa.
Several other foreign airlines have joined in the ban, too, including Air Canada. However, the airline will continue shipping such Canadian animal trophies as black bears, grizzly bears, and even polar bears, so long as the correct government permits are in place.
The United Parcel Service, however, will continue shipping such controversial trophies, according to a UPS spokesperson, noting that the company follows U.S. and international laws — not public opinion — in determining what it ships, and what it doesn’t.
“There are many items shipped in international commerce that may spark controversy,” said Susan Rosenberg, UPS public relations director. “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.”