Virgin Atlantic calls for ethical cargo policy

by MM&D Online Staff

London, UK—Virgin Atlantic Cargo has welcomed the latest moves by other airlines to ban the carriage of hunting trophies and says it is now time for the airline cargo industry to adopt a strict ethical cargo policy to clearly identify shipments not acceptable for carriage.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo adopted its own ethical policy over three years ago. It says an industry-wide agreement that all airlines would be duty-bound to implement would eliminate shipments such as hunting trophies and endangered species. It would also remove confusion and inconsistency from the market, Virgin says.

The airline believes the announcement in June by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and IATA to reduce illegal trade in wildlife and products that come from animals can now become the catalyst for this much-needed change. CITES and IATA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a formal framework for their ongoing cooperation on the implementation of standards and best practices such as the IATA Live Animals Regulations, the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations, and the CITES Guidelines for the Non-Air Transport of Live Wild Animals and Plants. They will also support joint training and communications activities to reduce illegal trade and ensure the safe transport of legally traded wildlife.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s ethical cargo policy bans the carriage of cargo such as hunting trophies, Bluefin tuna and shark fins. The airline also refuses to carry any animals for research purposes including primates and laboratory rats, as well as hatching eggs and day-old chicks, meat or products from Cetaceans, and furs and pelts.

John Lloyd, senior vice-president cargo at Virgin Atlantic, said: “As part of our ethical cargo policy adopted a number of years ago, we do not carry certain cargo including hunting trophies, endangered species, shark fins and any animals for research purposes. It’s great to see other carriers adopting similar policies but an industry-wide agreement that all airlines support would be a significant step forward in helping to prevent such shipments.”

Air Canada announced yesterday its decision to refuse to carry any shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and water buffalo trophies worldwide as freight. The airline said that historically the shipment of such trophies has been rare since it does not fly to Africa. This ban goes over and above Air Canada’s long-standing policy to comply strictly with the regulations of the jurisdictions in which it operates that are in place to protect endangered wildlife in accordance with the