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Jan 15th 2009 6:19PM Forgot to add that in this instance it would have been impossible to access the cargo area which is opened from the belly of the plane while on the tarmac. Since this water landing, the plane has sunk and would be completely filled with water and most likely was moments after impact.
Jan 15th 2009 6:11PM They are not safe. Shipping any living being in the cargo hold of a plane is not safe. They are subject to excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation, scarcity of oxygen, deafening noise and extremely rough handling when flown in the cargo area of a plane. The airline industry treats live animals as mere baggage, transporting them in cargo holds not designed for life support. In the past, airlines have neither responded appropriately to reports of animal injuries, nor provided accurate information to the flying public. In response to the problems associated with pet air travel, and lack of good data on those problems, Congress passed the Safe Air Travel for Animals Act in April 2000, for which The Humane Society of The United States and its members lobbied extensively. The U.S. Department of Transportation adopted regulations for this law in 2005. Now all American-based airlines are required to report any companion animal incidents that occur in the cargo holds of their planes, including any deaths, injuries, or losses of these pets. Many airlines have responded to this law by implementing restrictions on accepting pets as cargo. For a complete month-by-month breakdown of these animal incidents, visit the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report. Before you make plans to travel with your pet, follow these suggestions:
If you plan to bring your pet on vacation, consider driving instead of flying. (Neither Amtrak nor Greyhound allow pets.) If this isn't possible, consider leaving your pet behind under the care of a pet sitter or boarding kennel.
If you are relocating across the country, consider using a company whose primary business is to transport animals.
Remember, any inconvenience you might experience while researching and looking for safe travel options for your pet is minor when weighed against the risk of losing your companion forever in terrifying circumstances. Above all, when making travel decisions, please consider what is best for your pet to avoid becoming another one of millions of heartbreaking stories related to animals traveling as cargo on airplanes.