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 Regulations.gov 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.
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