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KLM Squirrel Slaughter Fallout

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will never again ship rodents, reptiles or any endangered animals following an outcry over its slaughter of hundreds of squirrels in a shredding machine last April.

"The current decision means that carriage of these species on KLM flights now definitely belongs to the past," the airline said in a statement Friday.

The KLM suspended shipments of rodents, amphibians and reptiles earlier this year after it admitted to dumping 440 illegally imported squirrels, still alive, into an industrial meat-processing machine after failing to find them a home.

The airline said it also will no longer ship "animals caught in the wild or any endangered species" unless they are being transported to zoological gardens or returned to their natural habitats.

The only animals that will now be transported are horses, chicks, ornamental fish, dogs and cats. KLM said the decision came after talks with Dutch animal rights organizations.

The squirrels killed arrived from China without proper documentation en route to Athens. Animal rights groups denounced the slaughter as cruel, illegal and unnecessary, triggering a debate in the Dutch parliament.

At the time, KLM admitted to making "a grave mistake on ethical grounds," but maintained that it was merely abiding by health regulations.

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