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Help Keep Animals Safe on Flights

Help Keep Animals Safe on Flights

The Department of Transportation (DoT) has published a proposal that would expand reporting requirements for airlines that ship animals to help improve safety and humane handling for animal passengers and help people decide which airlines to use if they’re traveling with an animal companion.

As it stands, airlines are only required to report incidents ranging from lost pets and injuries to deaths for animals that are being kept as household pets in the U.S., while excluding other animals, such as dogs shipped commercially from puppy mills and primates shipped for research.

The DoT’s proposal will “include all cats and dogs transported by the carrier, regardless of whether the cat or dog is transported as a pet by its owner or as part of a commercial shipment.” However, animal advocacy groups are arguing that the proposal doesn’t go far enough and that it should include every animal that travels by air.

The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) and Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) point out that the proposal isn’t strong enough to paint a complete picture and would fail to require reporting for a number of incidents, such as the discovery of 15 primates at the Los Angeles International Airport who died from a “lack of care, starvation and hypothermia” on their way from Miami to Los Angeles to China and back.

“All animals should be counted, regardless of their ‘purpose’ or flight itinerary. Doing so not only allows consumers to make educated decisions when choosing an airline, it also helps to keep those responsible for the well-being of animals during transport accountable. Different species of animals can have very different needs and some, like primates, require special care, particularly during long journeys, which are very stressful,” according to the AAVS.


The DoT is accepting public comments on its proposal via until August 28.

Please submit a comment asking the DoT to amend its proposal and require airlines to file a report for the total number of animals transported and for any animal that is lost, injured or killed regardless of their species or whether they are a pet or commercial shipment.

Related Stories:

Success! El-Al Airlines Will Stop Transporting Monkeys for Experimentation

United Airlines Pressured to Resume Shipping Animals for Research

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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12:05PM PDT on Sep 6, 2012

Any living creature on a plane should be fully accounted for.

9:36AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

I would ONLY bring my pet on a plane if he/she were allowed with me as a passenger. I flew from Texas to Maryland with my cat nestled under my seat in a carrier. There is NO way I would ship ANY animal much less a pet in the cargo area. It is cruel and inhumane, and should be forbidden.

6:49AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Glad that was the question asked. No, I would not ship my companion animals on a plane, because of all the troubles I've read about in the past. If you haven't already, send a comment to DoT to amend the regulation to include ALL animals, not only household pets.

7:30PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Thank you, American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) and Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), for all you do for this cause and so many others.

9:27PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

I am not exactly qualified to comment on this. Our first flight was made so unenjoyable by the flight crew and the all the crap they put my handicapped husband through that we have never flown again and would never put my pets on an airplane.

3:23PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Airlines don't want to make it too safe or too comfortable for pets to fly precisely because they don't want to encourage that business. Pets don't check luggage or buy drinks.

1:34PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

unfortunately, any entries from non-EU countries need to go through UK via Heathrow. they must be in CARGO area! and you must use either one of their approved pet company. the cost is very high. more expensive than my own air tickets. This is one huge complaint from me as a pet owner. they used to have even stricter rules about pets entering from non-EU countries. requiring them to be quarantine form 6months at approved facility. a friend of mine didn't abandon their dogs when they move back from singapore. it has cost them a fortune. and it is a long time in terms of life time for the poor doggies.

7:34AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

The only way to travel with your pet is either on board, with you in the cabin, or you get permission to stay with the animal, in the luggage area where all luggage accumulates before being loaded onto the plane. You watch that the carrier is the last thing loaded, and then when you reach your destination, you get off first, and meet the carrier when it comes off the plane. Last on, first off, and no sitting on the hot tarmack.

This is how animals for the movie industry are shipped, and it can be done for just your regular "pets". You just have to make the arrangements......

7:12AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

I only went over seas once and we went to China saying in a Hotel so we didn't take the dogs(my grandparents house and dog sat) but honestly I wouldn't take them anyway. Flying is insanely stressful on a person who actually understands the whole procedure and what's going on...I couldn't even imagine what it would do to an animal and I wouldn't put the animals I love though that.

8:37PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

I would bring my cat only because as a service animal she gets to fly in the cabin with me.

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