Take Action: Animals Flown as Cargo Get a First-Class Upgrade

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 11:15am
cat in a carrier

Guest blog written by Deborah Dubow Press, ASPCA Regulatory Affairs Manager.

We frequently hear tragic news stories involving animals traveling in airplane cargo holds, and it’s no wonder—these animals are exposed to lots of dangers in transit. They can be left on the tarmac in the hottest summer months, transported in unsafe carriers that do not meet humane standards, or be carelessly lost in the shuffle of air cargo traffic.

Currently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires airlines to report the losses, injuries and deaths of pets only. Reporting requirements exclude commercial shipments of animals—like a batch of puppies heading from a breeder to a pet store. This means that there are many appalling incidents the public never hears about. 

The DOT Responds
A new rule proposed by the DOT could lead to greater transparency by airlines and help give people a clearer picture of the risks involved in transporting animals as cargo. The new rule would require airlines to report incidents involving commercially shipped cats and dogs, as well as more than double the number of airlines required to report incidents.  

While the proposed rule is better than the one in place now, it still has room for improvement. For instance, it doesn’t cover all animals transported as part of a commercial air shipment—only dogs and cats. 

Take Action!
The Department of Transportation is accepting comments until August 28. Please tell them that all animals deserve to be protected during air transport while being shipped as cargo. In your comments, please include the following:

  • You support the DOT’s decision to extend coverage to all dogs and cats.
  • Reporting requirements are essential to inform consumers about the risks associated with transporting animals by air, and people deserve this information so they can make informed decisions about traveling safely with their pets.
  • You want the rule to extend reporting requirements to all animals shipped commercially, not just dogs and cats.

Go to to submit comments directly to the DOT.

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janet gael

it is disgusting to think that they do not consider that dogs give their lives in war are guide dogs take care of children with various illness and yet are not considered important enough to safe guard we travel a great deal and will not be using any airline that does not take the transportation of this precious to the owners !!! so lets make sure they are held to a higher standard my husband company fly all over the wold all the time i shall make sue he only uses companies that respect our pets

Rhoda Ochoa

I want reporting of incidents and high safety standards, but the people who want to eliminate animal shipping are short-sighted. I deploy again shortly, and my cats need to be shipped in order for me to provide a home environment over the course of months. For short trips, I hire a sitter to come in every other day. I also had to get them from Japan to the US. The answer is not making pet shipments unavailable or outrageously expensive (shipping from Japan is now easily thousands per pet, even small ones).