A number of animal rights groups, including the UK’s League Against Cruel Sports and the US-based Kinship Circle are trying to convince Virgin Atlantic to ban the transportation of sports rifles.
In a press release on the campaign, LACS’ Annette Crosbie said
Given the steps Sir Richard Branson has taken to protect wildlife on Virgin Group properties in Britain and South Africa, allowing sports rifles to be carried by the airline he founded could be viewed as verging on the hypocritical.
Crosbie is alluding to a wildlife preserve that Branson owns where hunting is not allowed.
Kinship Circle distributed a sample letter to Branson which read, in part,
UK and EU hunters annually decimate thousands of endangered animals to import their body parts for ornamental use on walls of boardrooms and living rooms. Trophy hunters typically prefer to bag “prizes” with their own weapons.
These powerful rifles do not belong on airplanes — whether they will be used to gun down animals or commit some other form of violence. Please consider security issues, as well as your apparent concern for wildlife.
Both Kinship Circle and the League Against Cruel Sports make much of the fact that Ryanair and BMI Baby have both agreed not to transport hunting rifles. Of course the issue is practically moot for both airlines since they are small carriers who provide service only within western Europe.
Ask UK airline to ban trophy hunt rifles. Kinship Circle, September 27, 2004.
Richard Branson urged to “take the thrill out of the kill”. Press Release, League Against Cruel Sports, August 2004.
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