Animal charity pushing airlines to help fly pets out of war zones with their owners

Helping families stay united with pets during times of crisis

Helping families stay united with pets during times of crisis Ivonne Wierink/

Animal charity Humane Society International is working with the International Air Transport Association to introduce ways to help fly pet cats and dogs out of war zones with their owners when they evacuate a country or take refuge elsewhere. 

They have come up with a list of considerations for governments and airlines to take into account, which are based on the IATA Live Animals Regulations.

Considerations include:

  • Introducing flexibility in documentation requirements —governments relaxing veterinary travel paperwork requirements for dogs, cats and other companion animals.
  • Assessing ground storage facilities —airport communities identifying additional storage facilities that are compliant with the requirement for the safety of live animals.
  • Providing additional information —providing communications materials to provide clear and consistent information to pet owners across all customer service channels including call centres, email, chat and social media channels.
  • Collaborating with pet shipping companies and airport communities to make additional live animal transport containers available at major departure points.

“In times of crisis, the importance of keeping pets and people together can’t be understated. The special bond we have with our much-loved animal companions is highly important, and during conflicts and crises they provide comfort and a sense of stability for those who have been through so much.” Said Katherine Polak, vice president of companion animals and engagement at Humane Society International.

Polak added that recently, “HSI’s pet relief aid work with Ukrainian refugees showed the lengths that people will go to in order to get their animals to safety. So, we are incredibly proud to collaborate with IATA to help ensure refugees are able to take their beloved four-legged family members with them, so that no matter what the conflict or crisis, wherever in the world, pets and their people can stay together.”

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Written by

Rocio Flores