Animal Deaths in Airplane Cargo Holds Inspires New Transparency

Monday, July 7, 2014 - 2:15pm
Pekingese sitting in open suitcase

Every year, hundreds of animals are lost, injured or killed during transport in the cargo holds of airplanes. Many of these incidents are preventable, so we are glad the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will formally address this animal welfare problem and expand airline accountability for these tragedies.

The DOT has just finalized a rule (effective January 1, 2015) that will increase transparency around these incidents and allow the public and policymakers to assess the full spectrum of safety issues associated with transporting animals as cargo. 

The new rule for the first time requires airlines to report incidents involving not just household pets, but commercial shipments of dogs and cats—including puppies and kittens heading from a breeder to a pet store. It also more than doubles the number of airlines that must report incidents involving the loss, injury or death of an animal during air transport.

We, along with other animal protection organizations, urged the DOT to require incident reporting for all species of commercially shipped animals but the agency declined to do so, stating that this would be unduly burdensome to airlines.

While transporting animals in airplane cargo holds is never advisable, when it cannot be avoided you can make these journeys as safe and stress-free as possible by following the ASPCA’s Top 10 Air Travel Tips

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This is awful. Need to make a place for pets on the plane, that owners can check on them. Airlines should be more responsible for the pets.


I totally agree.




With all this being said, I would NEVER take my baby on a plane. This shouldn't even be a problem, but apparently it is..and I would definetly never take the risk of my pet being hurt lost or killed during transport. Ridiculous!! I'll drive, or not go on vacation at all if I had to. My baby's life is NOT worth travel.

Mary Duquette

RIGHT ON, Brittany !!!


My husband was transferred overseas and we moved our dog with us - it was harrowing to learn that airlines didn't have to report statistics like percentage of animals that died or were lost in transfer. Should we lose our livelihood? Leave a family member behind? We learned all we could and took our furkid with us, planning as much as possible for his well-being. I'm glad that future transferees will be able to make better informed decisions about this worrisome process.


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