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Introduction to Live Animals Transportation by
IATA Live Animals Regulations
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beginning of recorded time, mankind has shared this world with
animals. They have been a source of food, clothing, shelter and
companionship and are an essential part of our environment.
have been transported by air since the early 1930's. In today's
modern world, it is an established fact that carriage of live
animals by air is the most humane and expedient method of
transportation over long distances.
it be a pet, an animal transported for zoological or agricultural
purposes or for any other reason, the objective of the IATA Live
Animals Regulations is to ensure ALL animals are transported safely
and humanely by air."
airlines, in conjunction with organizations concerned with the
health and welfare of animals, recognize the importance of treating
animals humanely and safely in transportation. To ensure shippers,
acceptance and handling staff and anyone involved in the
transportation of animals are familiar with international standards
for the acceptance and handling of animals in transit, the IATA Live
Animals Regulations were established.
Regulations contain specific packaging and welfare requirements
which are designed to ensure that the animals arrive at their
destination healthy and in good condition. With the increasing
number of animals traveling by air, it is essential that the IATA
Live Animals Regulations are complied with in all cases. We hope
that this web site will provide you with basic information and
guidelines which will assist you in shipping animals in a safe and
-All information on transporting live animals|
-Preparation for Air Transport
-Tips for shipping your pet
-Where are you going?
-When are you going?
-When do you want to send your pet?
-When two or more pets travel together
-When pets travelling unaccompanied
-Shipping your pet as cargo?
-Don’t forget the health requirements
-The animal transport container
-Tranquillisation can harm your pet
-A few important guidelines for traveling with your pet internationally
IATA Live Animals Regulations are the ultimate worldwide standards
for transporting live animals by commercial airlines. Countries such
as the member states of the European Union also enforce the IATA
Regulations for the transportation of live animals to, from and
within the communities. Government agencies, such as the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife, and the management authorities of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) also enforce the
IATA Regulations for the packaging of endangered species for
Live Animals Regulations are published annually, effective October
1st. It contains information on over 1,900 species and sub-species
of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects that are listed
alphabetically by their common and scientific names and the
appropriate packaging and provides handling requirements for each
species during air transport.
requirements for animals are based on species needs and animal size.
The IATA Live Animals Regulations describe minimum standards for
container construction for all animal types ranging from insects to
elephants. It is imperative for the safe and humane shipment of an
animal that the proper container is used.
commence their journey, it is important that advance arrangements be
made and confirmed. The most suitable routing always needs to be
selected, as many airports do not have adequate facilities at
destination or possible transit stops. Consideration should be given
to the day on which the consignment (or consignments) is dispatched
and its date of arrival, because some customs authorities and other
government agencies do not work during weekends or public holidays.
Advance arrangements shall include confirmation that the consignee
is aware of the shipping details and has made arrangements to take
delivery of the consignment on arrival.
the consignment is delivered to the airline, the shipper or his
agent must ensure that all import and export licenses, health
certificates and permits have been obtained. When these documents
are required to go forward with the consignment, they must be
securely attached to the air waybill. The shipper is also required
to provide the airline with two correctly completed copies of the
Shipper's Certification for Live Animals. It is important to note
that the Shipper's Certificate also contains a declaration in
relation to endangered species. An air waybill must be completed on
behalf of the shipper and must clearly show the number and species
of animals in the consignment. Pets accompanied by their owners do
not require an air waybill and the Shipper’s Certificate.
Particular care and attention should be paid when selecting
the type of aircraft used in the air transportation of animals,
because aircraft specifications for holds and compartments vary
considerably, and because some aircraft are not suitable for the
carriage of animals. Care should be taken to ensure that animals are
not stowed in the vicinity of other animals that may be natural
enemies, or other commodities which may cause them harm.
facilitate the movement of large bulk shipments of domestic farm
animals, the airline industry has developed special aircraft pen
systems which include additional ventilation. When a bulk-loaded
system is used, specially designed walk-on ramps are
ventilation requirements for full aircraft loads of animals must be
considered during loading, off-loading or at a transit stop. People
loading animals should be aware of the requirements and the action
to take when problems arise. The Captain must always be notified of
the quantity, species and location of animals onboard the
best interest of animal welfare, it is essential that all aspects of
the IATA Live Animals Regulations be complied with. Since many
countries have incorporated the IATA Regulations into their national
legislation, non-compliance may result in possible destruction or
confiscation of the animals or in legal action by the
following is a list of frequently asked questions from the pet
owners. We hope the information is helpful and will assist you in
asking more specific questions when you make reservations and
transportation arrangements with the airlines.
in this instance, will mean dogs and cats. There are other
requirements for exotic pets and birds.
airlines require a health certificate for any animal they are
transporting whether in the cabin or as an unaccompanied
questions you must answer before making travel arrangements
1- Is your pet going to travel domestically,
within your own country, or will it be traveling internationally?
2- When do you want your pet to travel?
3- What is the size
and weight of your pet?
4- How many animals will be traveling?
5- Is your pet to be accompanied?
6- Do you intend to break
the journey, or stopover at an intermediate station?
7- What is
the pet’s final destination?
8- Do you have a suitable container
for your pet?
are some answers to help you. Planning within a country is usually
less involved than planning for international travels.
airlines that fly to your proposed destination, select one and
contact them to check that they will accept your pet(s) on the day
and flight that you prefer.
You must contact
the airline at least 48 hours before departure, preferably longer,
to be sure that there is space. Only small dogs and cats can go in
the cabin, even so some airlines will not allow them to do so and
they will be sent as special baggage in a heated and ventilated
hold. Do not worry, cats and dogs actually travel better this way
because it is quieter and they will rest in a darkened environment.
Some airlines restrict the number of animals that they will carry on
any one flight so the more advance notice you can give the better it
out how soon before the flight that you have to check in. Pets
become stressed with all the crowds and bustle at an airport, so you
want to keep this to a minimum. If you are allowed to have your pet
in the cabin with you, check in as late as possible, so long as the
airline knows that you are coming. If your pet is going in the hold,
check in early so that it can go to the baggage area and be put
somewhere quiet and dimly lit in order to relax. To prepare your
pets for a journey reduce the quantity of food the day before but
leave water available; take your dog(s) for a walk before leaving
for the airport and again before checking in, allowing the animal to
urinate and defecate. A light meal 2 hours before tendering the
animal to the carrier will help to calm some animals and is a legal
requirement in the United States. However, do not give a heavy bulky
meal, as vomiting may occur or animals may soil their
shipping your pet as air freight, check with the airline to ensure
the air freight facility is open so your pet may be claimed by the
Make sure that
there is no problem with proposed weekend or holiday shipment.
Weekdays are preferable as all staff are working and liaison is easy
all along the route. Transport of snub nose dogs, such as boxers,
bulldogs and Pekinese, in hot season is not recommended. Dogs with snub noses have difficulty in
maintaining a normal body temperature in hot weather. Check with the
airlines for any special arrangements.
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Act (AWA)
states that "no more than two live puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6
months of age, that are of comparable size and weighing 20 lb. (9
kg) or less each, may be transported in the same primary enclosure
via air carrier." This is a good practice to follow for all animal
shipments, no matter what country they are traveling in.
Remember, animals may become stressed and aggressive when
traveling by air and should not be placed in the same container
unless they are young puppies or kittens. Animals which share the
same household may become stressed and aggressive towards each other
when traveling by air.
airlines restrict the maximum number of animals allowed in the
cabin, check with your intended airline regarding their requirements
if you are planning to carry your pet onboard.
container requirements, as describe in the Live Animals Regulations,
are mandatory for transportation of animals by air. Food and water
containers (troughs) accessible from outside the container are
required. The carrier, or government agency, may require that
additional food be provided in a pouch attached to the container
with feeding instructions.
either find an animal shipper who can make all the necessary
reservations and take full charge from collecting your pet, boarding
it if need be, taking it to the airport and have it met at the other
end and delivered to destination. In some countries, this may be the
easiest and surest method and some airlines will not accept animals
handled by anyone other than a shipper. The airlines can usually
give you a list of shippers with whom they work. But it is possible
that you can do all this yourself. Check with the airline for any
special requirements for shipping your pet.
name and address of the owner, a 24 hour contact phone number and
the consignee's name and address must also be clearly fixed to the
top of the container.
food must be supplied and attached to the container in case there is
a delay and instructions for feeding and watering must be given in
writing and also fixed to the container. Any medication that has/is
being given must also be recorded with the name of the drug,
the time and route of administration. Tranquilization is NOT
recommended for air transport of animals.
leave the airport until you know that the flight has been confirmed
to leave. This helps everyone when there are unexpected problems and
sure that there in someone to meet the shipment at the cargo
department at the airport of destination, and who can contact when
the flight leaves in order to give the expected time of arrival at
Check that all
vaccinations are up to date and that you have the vaccination and
other required health certificates with you. Stressed animals (don’t
forget travel causes stress and dehydration to both humans and
animals) are more prone to infections and if they are virus carriers
their healthy status can break down causing sickness.
NOTE: IATA does
not certify, approve nor license any particular manufacturer, brand,
make or model of container.
you are going to use can be a soft ‘carry bag' for short trips when
in cabin flight in permitted. But for traveling in the hold, a rigid
container that conforms to the IATA Live Animals Regulations must be
used. The container must be big enough for the animal to stand
normally, turn round and lie down. Air kennels with the correct
amount of ventilation openings for good air circulation are
required. The airline will be able to assist you in deciding how to
select the right container size as they can check the IATA Live
Animals Regulations when you make your reservation and advise you
container ahead of time so that your pet can become accustomed to
it. By placing a favorite bit of bedding and toys, and feeding
animal inside the container for a few days, the container can be
‘personalized’ to make the pet more comfortable to it when
The IATA Live Animals & Perishables Board has decided
that, effective 1st October 2000, new plastic pet kennels that are
designed and produced for air transportation should comply with the
following enhanced requirements:
door must be constructed of welded or cast metal of sufficient gauge
or thickness so as to preclude the animal from bending or distorting
b) The door hinge and locking pins must engage the
kennel by at least 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) beyond the horizontal
extrusions above and below the door opening where the pins are
above requirements do not affect plastic pet kennels that have been
in existence prior to 1st October 2000.
DO NOT tranquilize your pet. It can be
dangerous to their health. Drugs act differently at the pressure of
8000 ft above sea level, which is the approximate pressure in the
cabin and cargo area during flight.
internationally with your pet is sometimes more complicated than
domestic travel. While the basic requirements for containers, health
certificates, and age remain the same, international travel usually
requires additional documents as it does with passengers.
first step in planning an international trip with a pet should be to
contact the consulate of the destination country for their pet
importation requirements. Some countries require a lengthy
quarantine, others have more rigid standards than IATA’s for
container construction, while still others will only accept pets at
certain airports. Once you determine which airport you will be
flying into, check on national and local holidays during which
customs may be closed.
shipping agent, who specializes in animal shipments, can assist you
in planning and arranging transportation for your pet. While you can
make all of the arrangements yourself, nothing is worse than having
your pet impounded or lost because of an oversight or lack of
knowledge. Your airline or veterinarian should be able to provide
information on shipping agents. They may also be found in the Yellow
Pages of local telephone directories.
to shipping an animal internationally, you should have the answers
to the following questions either from the consulate of the
destination country, a shipping agent or the air carrier. Be
specific as to the species of your pet, requirements may be
different for dogs, cats, birds or other animals.
documents are required to import a pet? Some countries require a
health certificate signed by a veterinarian within a specific number
of days prior to the shipment. Some countries require the
veterinarian to be a government official while other countries will
accept a health certificate signed by a registered veterinarian.
2- Are there any age restrictions (minimum and maximum)
regarding importing a pet?
3- Are any special vaccinations or
tests required for the pet?
4- Are there specific country
restrictions regarding transportation of animals? (The U.S. has
strict temperature restrictions which limit animal travel,
especially in the summer and winter).
5- Some countries will
only accept animals shipped as manifested freight, others will allow
pets to travel as accompanied baggage.
6- Are there any
country/local holidays during or around the time of your planned
7- Is there any indication there may be a strike imminent,
which may affect the timely transport of your pet?
airports have customs and health services available to clear your
9- Are there any special quarantine requirements for a pet
being exported or imported?
10- Are there any special container
requirements, in excess of IATA standards, for transporting an
animal into or within the desired country?
11- Are quarantine
facilities available on the planned arrival date and station? Are
quarantine facility reservations necessary?
12- Pregnant animals
may not travel in late gestation.
addition you should check with your desired air carrier and obtain
the following information:
1- What are the carrier restrictions regarding the
carriage of animals (quantity, container size - larger containers do
not fit on all aircraft)?
2- Is a change of aircraft necessary
to reach my final destination? Will the container fit on all
aircraft types in the routing?
3- How long before departure and
where should I drop off my pet?
4- Verify document requirements
and other handling/shipping requirements with the airline. Some
carriers are more restrictive than the country requirements. (For
example some U.S. carriers have restrictions for pug nosed breeds of
dogs and cats which are more stringent than the USDA rules. These
restrictions vary from carrier to carrier).
5- What hours/days
are customs and health facilities normally open to clear the
6- Where and when can my pet be picked up?
pets be transported as baggage or must they travel as manifested
8- Are there restrictions for unaccompanied pets
(traveling as manifested freight) that are different than for pets
traveling as baggage?
9- Are pets allowed in the passenger
cabin? If so what are the limitations regarding size and quantity?
Sometime prior to your trip it would be most beneficial to
acclimate your pet to it’s shipping container. This can be done by
placing a favorite toy or bedding in the container and allowing the
pet to have free access to the container. The pet should also be
acclimated to being confined in the container by closing and
latching the door for periods of time.
container must be of sufficient size to allow the animal to stand in
a natural position, turn around, and lie down comfortably. In
addition, separate food and water containers, refillable from the
outside, must be secured in the container. Feeding and water
instructions, as well as enough food for one meal, must be attached
to the outside of the container. A duplicate copy of the feeding and
watering instructions should be attached to the shipping documents.
The food should be packaged in a strong plastic or cloth bag. Water
or ice cubes should be provided to the animal to prevent
Tranquilizing animals prior to or during air transport is not
recommended. The conditions in an aircraft cargo hold in flight are
quite different than conditions on the ground. Some medications
which are very effective on the ground may prove to be unsafe or
even fatal aboard an aircraft.
following these guidelines you can be assured your pet will have a
LAPB meeting will be held in Montreal from 20-21 February,
The latest edition of the Live Animals Regulations ( eff.
October 1st 2001) is available in print and CD ROM version for
ordering details contact email@example.com
are accepted by the convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Office International des
Epizooties (OIE) as guidelines in respect of transportation of
animals by air .
general and special training courses to all parties involved in the
air transport of live animals. These courses provide the
participants with the required knowledge for shipping live animals,
applying the IATA Live Animals Regulations and handling emergency
special training program is designed in accordance with the
individual airlines' requirements and is held at specific date and
IATA Learning Centre, email
about the IATA training courses can be obtained from: http://www.iata.org/training
information on live animals transportation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org