The international air freight industry should adopt a strict ethical policy on shipments they are prepared to carry, according to Virgin Atlantic Cargo.
The airline said a mandatory, industry-wide policy would remove confusion and inconsistency from the market.
Virgin Atlantic's own policy, implemented three years ago, bans the transport of items such as hunting trophies, bluefin tuna and shark fins, and animals used in laboratory testing.
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 cargoes including hunting trophies (such as animal heads), 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,” he added.
Other airlines, such as Lufthansa Cargo and Emirates SkyCargo, also prohibit the transport of hunting trophies. This week, three US airlines – American, United and Delta – also said they would implement a ban. This follows worldwide anger over the shooting of ‘Cecil’, a well-known lion in Zimbabwe, by a US hunter.