Introduction to Inter and Intra Country Live Animal Transport

The commercial movement of animals is one of the most regulated areas of transport, encompassing modal specific requirements taking into account the species and number of animals, current weather conditions, temperature and humidity, the length of the journey, light and noise levels. All relevant legislation is founded on the tenet that: “No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way that is likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them.” The AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Accreditation Standard 1.5.11 adds “Animal transportation must be conducted in a manner that is safe, well planned and coordinated, and minimises risk to the animal(s), employees, and general public. All applicable local, state, and federal laws must be adhered to.”

Animals travel around the world on a daily basis, whether accompanied by their owners or sent through specialist transport providers. People move, taking their pets with them, owners send horses to race meets, zoos undertake exchange and breeding programmes. Animals are transported for economic activity, commercial and business undertakings. Animals which are part of the family or which operate as service animals are treated very differently from those moved as part of economic activity.

Pet Transport

Families travelling domestically with their pets in the family car, or by public transport, have no additional requirements, except to ensure that “dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.” This quote is from the UK Highway Code; similar specific requirements apply in other countries.

If you are an EU national travelling within the EU with your pet provided they are dogs, cats or ferrets, you can move freely, so long as your animal has a European pet passport. This passport is available from any authorised veterinarian and must contain details of a valid anti-rabies vaccination. Young unvaccinated animals and other species are subject to national rules. They must be microchipped or tattooed with the same code as the one documented in the passport to verify their identity at border points.

Service Animals

In many countries, legislation requires that service animals must be carried by airlines or on public transport free of charge and arrangements must be made to facilitate their safe carriage. Trained service animals can include guide dogs for the blind or partially sighted, hearing dogs for the deaf, and animals who recognise warning signs for diabetic episodes seizures, mobility limitations or other needs. Anoth[1]er designation of animals, mostly dogs, are those considered emotional support and psychiatric service animals. These are not normally supplied and trained by service animal organisations. Many airlines, including Easyjet, do not transport them as service animals, and only some will allow them to travel with human passengers. Delta Airlines are tightening their requirements from March and require a passenger travelling with comfort animals and psychiatric-service animals to provide a letter signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional stating the passenger’s need for the animal and an additional signed letter stating that the animal is trained to behave without a kennel.