The New Zealand Herald

Safer rules for live animals going by air

Risks were highlighte­d last month when a dog died on a United Airlines flight

- Grant Bradley

New internatio­nal rules covering the transport of animals on aircraft have been developed by the organisati­on that represents most airlines.

The Internatio­nal Air Transport Associatio­n says a new standardis­ed global certificat­ion programme will improve the safety and welfare of animals travelling by air.

“Last year millions of animals travelled safely and securely by air. Animal owners and shippers rely heavily on airlines to carry their precious cargo. As an industry, we have a duty of care to ensure that standards and best practices are in place around the world to protect the welfare of these animals,” said Nick Careen, the associatio­n’s senior vicepresid­ent of airport, passenger, cargo and security.

The risks were highlighte­d last month when a dog died on a United Airlines flight after its owner was instructed to put the animal in an overhead bin.

The airline said it transporte­d 138,178 animals last year and 18 died, the highest of any airline, according to the Department of Transporta­tion.

We have a duty of care to ensure that standards and best practices are in place around the world to protect the welfare of these animals. Nick Careen, IATA

American and Delta each reported that two animals died on their planes last year. IATA said the Center of Excellence for Independen­t Validators for Live Animals Logistics (CEIV Live Animals) would provide participan­t stakeholde­rs across the air cargo supply chain with the assurance that certified companies were operating to the highest standards in the transport of live animals.

“For those shipping live animals the CEIV Live Animals programme will provide a reliable quality benchmark,” said Careen. The centre had developed rules for carrying pharmaceut­icals and the new programme was an extension of that.

Handling and transporti­ng live animals is challengin­g. Each type of animal has its specific requiremen­ts — not limited to the physical.

“It is critical to take into considerat­ion the emotional response of the animals when placed in a specialpur­pose, if unfamiliar, environmen­t by trained profession­als,” said Careen.

The programme was developed after a trial involving the City of London’s Heathrow Animal Recep- tion Centre and Air Canada Cargo.

Last year the centre handled 16,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 200,000 reptiles, 2000 birds and 28 million fish. Air Canada cargo vicepresid­ent Tim Strauss said ensuring animals travelled in safe and humane conditions required co-ordination across the supply chain.

“Whether it is a family relocating with their pet, a flock of sheep relocating overseas or zoo animals travelling to support conservati­on efforts, transporti­ng animals by air is a complex and highly planned operation.”

 ?? Picture / Grant Bradley ?? Your pet pooch should be taken care of even better on the holiday flight.
Picture / Grant Bradley Your pet pooch should be taken care of even better on the holiday flight.

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