4 min read

Victory: United Airlines Drops Live Dolphin Transport

<p><a class="checked-link" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/8191587494/in/photolist-cJu9DQ-cJu8FJ-cJu85b-6NiDpD-bbMYbr-5spHK9-dsxc5-dtS2z9-55wyvC-5TK1AA-cJucim-dtLsLt-5skpi2-5rMHPJ-cJu7ws-cXPxb-7Y2nMP-5skox8-5spJxS-9kCLYF-9kFQaW-9kFQcd-4CUb9A-4VYrb-8PxtHu-djJGoa-7gHfsh-9zxzvj-egxxjg-6qA14b-7A5Q72-bJ4nxc-cDqCcw-5ikRLG-p94UU4-duneUU-mFQprz-kUfvZ-cg3Q4U-5VXbns-9TN3S5-cDqCfj-9JNo2-X98cV-EnoXn-GwfMw-niJz6T-cnUuej-kRsnTr-6bnVY4">William Warby/Flickr</a></p>

America's third-largest airline became the latest company to turn its back on whale and dolphin captivity this week, when it stopped transporting the animals in its aircrafts.

The company had been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks for flying marine mammals around the world - a petition asking it to stop on the website Change.org gained over 6,000 signatures, while a coalition of activists from the groups "Voices for the Taiji Dolphins" and "Voices from the Sea" joined together to target several airlines on behalf of the 274 live cetaceans that were transported around the world last year.

Now, Cetacean News Network reports that United has officially stopped transporting whales and dolphins on its carriers. When the Oceanic Preservation Society asked United to confirm the news, the company issued this statement:

"United Cargo does not accept or transport dolphins or whales to or from any location, for any reason. Dolphins and whales transported to, from or between sanctuaries, aquariums, marine parks and zoos are included in the complete ban on transport of these animals."

Activists also organized petitions aimed at Korean Air, ULS Airlines Cargo, Asiana Airlines, DHL, Fedex and Nankai Express for the same reason. WDC argues that the animals transported undergo great stress, and many of them are wild-caught in cruel drive hunts like the one in Taiji, Japan. In a piece for The Dodo, WDC's Courtney Vail wrote:

In addition to the cruel and unsustainable nature of the hunts, we are also concerned about the mental and physical effects of transport on whales and dolphins. Scientific data reveal that the stress of transfer and of adapting to a new captive environment can pose a serious risk to their health and welfare. Unnecessary handling and transport produce a demonstrable change in stress hormone levels similar to those humans experience during stressful situations. It is well established that chronic stress can lead to immunosuppression and susceptibility to disease.

While over 50 airlines have already pledged not to transport live dolphins, many haven't. See this page to tell airlines not to carry cetaceans.

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