February 11, 2019
Turkish Airlines and Turkish Cargo have been accused of enabling the exotic pet trade, despite making commitments to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.
A report by the World Animal Transportation called “Wild at heart: The cruelty of the exotic pet trade” says millions of wild animals including parrots are being captured from their habitats or born into captivity, to be sold into the exotic pet trade.
The international non-profit organization says the airline is being used to illegally transport wild-caught African Grey parrots on flights from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Mali to countries in the Middle East, western and southern Asia.
Ben Williamson of World Animal Protection US says: “Poaching animals for the exotic pet trade is happening on an industrial scale with devastating consequences. Worse still is that the illegal and illicit elements of the trade are often aided by government corruption and inadequate enforcement.”
He says animals suffer at every step of the journey, citing a case last August when African grey parrots were transported by Turkish Airlines between Kinshasa and Kuwait via Istanbul, with more than 60 found dead on arrival.
He says: “Turkish Airlines and Cargo flies to 120 countries, more than any other airline, which is why we are calling on them to cease the transportation of all bird species until we have mutual confidence that African grey parrots and other endangered bird species are not being flown on their planes.”
Alesia Soltanpanah, executive director at World Animal Protection US says: “Most people buy exotic pets because they love animals – but any wild animal in the exotic pet trade experiences extreme suffering. We are urging people to not buy, own or breed a wild animal as a pet. A life in captivity is a world away from a life in the wild. Wild animals are not pets, they belong in the wild.”
Source: (Air Cargo Week)