Make Airlines Accountable for All Animals Shipped on Commercial Flights

PuppiesRecently, seven puppies died after being shipped in the cargo hold from an American Airlines flight from Tulsa to Chicago, causing a surge of public concern about the risky and controversial practice of shipping companion animals and other animals as “cargo” on commercial airlines. Currently, the Department of Transportation only requires airlines to report the deaths or disappearances of animals considered “pets”—meaning that there has been no accurate reporting on in-flight harm to dogs shipped by puppy mills or other animals transported as cargo.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) have drafted a joint letter to the Secretary of Transportation, arguing that a “flawed interpretation of laws” has allowed animal death reporting to “slip through the cracks.” The Animal Legal Defense Fund has also filed a petition with the Department of Transportation urging them to oblige air carriers to report on the deaths of any animals in transit, and to identify the shippers and consignees involved in their “shipment.”

Whether an animal is shipped as a pet or as an item of commerce has no bearing whatsoever on that animal’s ability to suffer. Travelers and animal lovers have a right to know exactly how risky it is for animals to be shipped as cargo on commercial airlines.

Please send a letter to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to join Senators Menendez, Durbin, and Lieberman and ALDF in amending this regulation to ensure accurate reporting about the real risks to animals shipped in cargo holds.