In the wake of last month's global sigh of sadness over the death of a French bulldog in the overhead storage compartment of a United Airlines plane and the few dogs that ended up in different locales than their owners, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new standardized global certification program to improve the safety and welfare of animals traveling by air.
The Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) for Live Animals Logistics, set up by IATA have established procedures by which all airlines that accept animal cargo must comply in order to be certified by IATA to transport animals. Those airlines which are certified by IATA will be listed on a special web page on the IATA website.
"Last year millions of animals travelled safely and securely by air," said Nick Careen, IATA's Senior Vice President of Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security. "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. For those shipping live animals the CEIV Live Animals program will provide a reliable quality benchmark. Just as CEIV Pharma helped provide quality standards for temperature sensitive healthcare shipments, the new program extends that expertise to the important field of transporting and handling of animals."
As it happens the percentage of pet deaths on U.S. airlines is low, but no one wants to lose a pet! Of the 506,994 pets that flew U.S. airlines in 2017, 24 pets died, 15 were injured, and one pet was lost. Though two-thirds of the deaths were on United Airlines flights, most of the pets that died were brachycephalic breeds, breeds with short noses that tend to having breathing issues because of their anatomy, it happens that United was one of the few airlines which even accepted brachycephalic breeds on its airlines.
6 BRACHYCEPHALIC DOG BREEDS (image)
Live Animals Regulations (LAR) have been established by IATA with input from veterinarians, animal welfare experts, and government and public organizations with animal welfare concerns. Courses and certification are available on the IATA website.
Some U.S. airlines, like United, have temporarily stopped carrying pets. If you are traveling in the near future, call your airline for the most current information regarding its pet travel policies.