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Airlines Must Adopt A Universal Pet Policy

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Traveling with pets shouldn't be a life-threatening ordeal!

Dozens of pets die every year as congested or ill-prepared airlines attempt to transport them in cargo holds across the country. Some of the worst cases involve animals suffocating to death in sweltering temperatures, or being left outside in the pouring rain.

Apart from Southwest, few airlines in the United States prohibit passengers from checking their pets as baggage, but the airline also has the lowest incident rate of animal injuries or death [1].

Between 2011 and 2012, Delta Airlines was responsible for more than 40 of the 97 animal deaths reported in that period [2]. And since then, United has been responsible for many more, with the worst record of 2016. That year, 9 pets died, including Sphinx kitten and eight dogs, while 14 more were left with various injuries. Some of the dogs suffered short-term mouth and gum injuries from stress chewing [3].

As service and support animals are being seen more commonly on flights [4], it would save both lives and frustration if all airlines followed the same guidelines when transporting pets, just as they care for humans.

Deaths and injury from improper or careless treatment is always preventable, and adopting a policy that bans animals from being checked as baggage or cargo would go far to ensure the safety of all animals transported by air. Larger animals that cannot fit into the cabin can be booked a safe flight through the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.

Sign the petition to tell the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to adopt a universal policy for airlines in the United States, restricting animals from being checked as baggage.


[1] Will Racke (2016, November 15) Pets on a plane: Why animals are dying aboard U.S. airlines. Retrieved August 15, 2017 from https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/news/2016/11/15/pets-on-a-plane-why-animals-are-dying-aboard-u-s.html

[2] Alastair Bland (2013, March 20) Is Taking Your Pet on an Airplane Worth the Risk? Retrieved August 15, 2017 from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-taking-your-pet-on-an-airplane-worth-the-risk-6241533/

[3] Carla Hall (2017, April 13) By the way, United has the worst U.S. record on pet deaths, too. Retrieved August 15, 2017 from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-united-pet-deaths-20170413-story.html

[4] Bart Jansen (2017, April 26) United Airlines accounted for a third of animal deaths on U.S. flights in last 5 years. Retrieved August 15, 2017 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/26/united-airlines-animal-deaths-flights/100925100/

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The Petition:

To the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,

Animals are being killed by neglect and improper treatment during flights every year. It's well past time the airlines in this country adopt policies to change that record.

The fact that any animals are being subject to this treatment at all should signal a need for sweeping change in air travel. The standards and guidelines set by individual airlines vary too much, and as more deaths continue to be reported, it's almost impossible to tell if one will be safer to bring pets on than another.

Only Southwest Airlines can lay claim to a satisfactory record of zero pet deaths per year, owing in no small measure to the fact that they prohibit animals from being checked as baggage or cargo.

I implore you to set a new universal pet policy banning animals from being checked as baggage on any airline in the United States, as Southwest has found success with, and end the unnecessary pet deaths.


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