Dallas Safari Club, hunters say Delta caved to “keyboard activism” when it banned trophies

The Dallas Safari Club, and the Dallas hunter who paid it $350,000 for a trip to Namibia and a permit to kill an endangered black rhino, are offended byDelta Air Lines’ attempt to get their federal lawsuit tossed.

Back in October, Corey Knowlton and the Dallas Safari Club and Conservation Force and others sued Delta in Dallas federal court over its ban on transporting hunting trophies, which has been in effect since August. Delta’s among several carriers, including American Airlines, that prohibit what it calls the “shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.” That included Knowlton’s black rhino, which conservationists say was killed to protect the larger herd. Just before Christmas, Delta filed a motion to dismiss their suit, insisting it’s “well within its rights to refuse to carry trophy kills.”

Delta’s attorneys also wrote that the original complaint “reads more like a press release than a pleading” and ‘does’ little more than “make lengthy public policy arguments about the conservation benefits of trophy hunting.”

This week, the Dallas Safari Club, Knowlton and the other plaintiff responded to Delta’s response in an attempt to keep the judge from dismissing the suit.

Corey Knowlton with a buck he shot while bow-hunting.

Corey Knowlton with a buck he shot while bow-hunting.

“Delta displays the same cavalier attitude in the Brief it did in banning transport of ‘Big Five hunting trophies,” says Dallas Safari Club’s response. DSC and Knowlton continue to insist the ban will not only harm hunters trying to bring their trophies back to the States, but also African villages that rely on the dollars provided by “tourist hunter-conservationists.”

“Delta’s capitulation to and its unlawful embargo on Big Five hunting trophies has broader, damaging consequences for people, wildlife, and the conservation systems of range nations than perhaps Delta recognizes … or wants to admit,” says the response, which you can read below.

“Delta’s unlawful embargo harms the tourist hunter-conservationists Plaintiffs represent,” says the response. “They cannot ship lawfully acquired Big Five trophies in the manner allowed by international law. Delta is treating them like traffickers and poachers, and that stigma is reducing their interest and ability to hunt in Africa. Worse, the wildlife authorities of range nations are losing essential revenue otherwise used for anti-poaching and wildlife management.”

The plaintiffs say Delta’s refusal to transport hunting trophies is nothing more than discrimination. The carrier disagrees.