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Delta Airlines Faces Lawsuit After Banning Transport Of Game Hunting Trophies

November 1, 2015 - Delta Airline faces lawsuit after the carrier along with other air carriers decided to ban the transport of game hunting “trophies.” This came after an American trophy hunter, dentist, Walter Palmer shot and killed 13-year-old male Cecil the lion in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe back in July.

After receiving more than a half million petitions against the shipping of game hunting trophies onboard their aircraft, on August 3rd Delta Airlines released a statement that said, “effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.”

This was not welcomed news by a number of U.S. hunting associations. Within hours of this move, American Airlines followed with a similar announcement. As a result several hunting associations (Plaintiffs - Conservation Force, Dallas Safari Club, Houston Safari Club, Corey Knowlton, The Campfire Association, and the Tanzania Hunting Operators ASS) have filed a lawsuit.


The suit alleges Delta Airlines has interfered with their actual and prospective business relations, deters U.S. hunters from going to Africa and engaging in commerce that economically sustains range states, communities, safari operators and the related service industries, habitat, and wildlife.

The embargo cuts the funding available for safari operator anti-poaching units and community game scouts, which threatens to increase poaching and reduce the wildlife base. And the embargo diminishes wildlife authority operating revenue that would otherwise be used for anti-poaching and wildlife management. The suit also alleges that Delta’s embargo "Is illegal. Delta is failing to fulfill its obligations as a common carrier, and this failure injures and will continue to injure Plaintiffs until the unlawful embargo is lifted."

The suit asks the Court to declare that Delta has violated its federal common law duties as a common carrier. "Delta cannot discriminate against passengers or cargo.  Trophies of the Big Five are not dangerous goods. Delta’s irresponsible embargo appears to be based on misinformation and a misunderstanding of the legal status of these goods, and motivated by a desire to placate a noisy and ill-advised group of Facebook posters, at the expense of conservation programs, wildlife, and livelihoods of local peoples, and the interests of Plaintiffs."



Also named as a plaintiff in the suit is Dallas’ Corey Knowlton. Knowlton claims he paid the Dallas Safari Club $350,000 for a trip to Namibia and for a permit to kill an endangered black rhino claims he has received death threats after posting the winning $350,000 bid in the Dallas Safari Club's auction of a permit to hunt a black rhino.
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