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.

Add new comment



frederick szcze...

The ONLY required field is the "Comments" box -- all others are optional.

Melissa Silverwood

I have to fly my dog cargo to the UK from the USA.Pets are not allowed in the cabin on any Airline to this country.Virgin Atlantic has a flying club" the paws club " for pets which is supposed to bthe safest .Anyone have any experience with this Airlines
as far as pet travel is concerned?

Irena Franchi

Protect pets traveling by air.


Animals should NOT be considered cargo. At the prices to ship animals and cargo, they could easily be transported in a humane method using space in the passenger cabin. The current shipping methods are far too disturbing and inhumane for animals.


Would you ship your kids in the cargo area!!!!!!!!!! Animals don't have a voice so we need to speak up for them. Common sense, not that common!

Steph Hargraves

If I wouldn't fly cargo then my animals will not. Some people just don't care about their animals and if they did then there would not be so much cruelty and they don't care if animals have feelings. Some people need to put themselves in their animals shoes. If you plan on flying your animal in cargo it is your fault if something happens to your animal. But I do agree that it is high time that the airlines start informing some of these ignorant animal owners of what might happens if thier animal is flown as cargo and not as a living breathing being.

Susan Wills

We trust you with our pets when we fly with them. You are RESPONSIBLE for their safety and someone should oversee when they are not protected by the airlines. There has to be a mandatory oversight for lacking in this care. They are valuable and important to the pet owners and we deserve to know they are safe when we fly with them.

Katherine Iosif

Yes, every animal deserves to be protected during air transport, and while I strongly support this action, I propose going further. I would like the DOT to consider requiring better conditions for animal transport overall. They need even the most basic comforts humans enjoy in the passenger cabin above, i.e., temperature control, sound proofing, and air circulation. It is terrible that we transport animals with the cargo in a freezing, excruciatingly loud, and stuffy luggage compartment. They are living things, and they need basic comforts as much as anyone else.

Terri Halle

We know better. Our fuzzy family members deserve to be treated in the best way, to be kept safe when they are scared, and not to be hidden away in cold or hot cargo areas. Please do the right thing and change your procedure to accommodate the animals who fly. Thank you.

Erica Davis

Animals are not luggage. Please upgrade your flying conditions for animals. They deserve better than being treated like a suitcase. Thank you.