IATA Partners with HSI for Pet-Friendly Air Passage in Times of Crisis

Image source: Humane Society International

animal welfare organization Humane Society International (HSI) announced that it has worked with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to publish a list of considerations for governments and the air transport supply chain to facilitate the safe passage of pet cats and dogs in times of crisis who evacuate or take refuge with their owners.

According Dr. Katherine PolakVice President of Companion Animals and Engagement at Humane Society International and member of IATA’s Temporary Companion Animal Task Force, in Times of Crisis, the importance of keeping pets and people together cannot be underestimated.

“The special bond we have with our beloved animal companions is very important, and during conflicts and crises they bring solace and a sense of stability to those who have been through so much,” Dr. Polak said.

The list of considerations is based on the IATA Live Animals Regulations publication which is the global standard for transporting animals by air in a safe and humane manner.

Considerations include:

Image source: Humane Society International

Image source: Humane Society International

— Introduce flexibility in documentation requirements: governments are relaxing veterinary travel document requirements for dogs, cats and other pets.
— Assess ground storage facilities: airport communities identifying additional storage facilities that comply with the live animal security requirement.
— Provide additional information: stakeholders are evaluating communication media to provide clear and consistent information to pet owners across all customer service channels, including call centers, email, chat and social media.
— Collaborate with animal transport companies and crate manufacturers: airport authorities requesting the assistance of these entities to provide additional containers for the transport of live animals (cabin and hold) at the main departure points.

BrendanSullivanIATA’s global cargo manager said aviation is a critical first responder in crisis situations.

Image source: Humane Society International

“The humanitarian response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was no different. Aviation has helped people flee to safety and provided humanitarian aid, and airlines operating on the front lines of the crisis have recognized the importance of helping families stay together with their pets,” Sullivan said, adding that airlines such as KLM, LOT Polish Airlines and Bulgaria Air were leaders among the airlines the introduction of measures to help refugees bring their pets with them.

The European Commission has also addressed the issue by advising all EU member states to relax veterinary documentation requirements for dogs, cats and other pets traveling with refugees.

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