Elsewhere on Department of Agriculture
Air transport of animals
National Consultative Committee on Animal Weflare (NCCAW) Position Statement - October 1993
The Commonwealth Air Navigation Act and the Air Navigation Orders and Regulations control the loading and movement of all aircraft within and from Australia.
In practical terms the regulations require that:
- when live animals are carried by air they are adequately contained to ensure the aircraft’s safety and the comfort and safety of handlers and passengers
- all animals are handled as live cargo and stowed in the aircraft’s cargo bays unless the aircraft has been converted as a dedicated livestock carrier.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations prescribe the minimum standards for transporting animals by air in containers, pens and stalls.
- A condition of IATA membership is that airline operators accept live animals for air transport in accordance with the IATA regulations.
- The IATA regulations are not fully satisfactory for Australian conditions, particularly as they do not take into account the special requirements for containing Australian native animals.
- The Model Code of Practice for the Air Transport of Livestock sets minimum standards for transporting food animals and horses.
- The Code does not take into account that the majority of animals transported within Australia are companion and native animals.
The State and Territory Protection of Cruelty to Animals (POCTA) Acts apply to incidents which occur during air transport of live animals. In practical terms, the application of the Acts is limited. It is usually difficult to ascertain precisely where an incident involving animals occurred during flight and therefore which Act has been transgressed. None* of the Acts apply to airports which are Commonwealth Territory.[*See note below]
- These legal limitations would be overcome with the passage of a Commonwealth POCTA Act which binds the Crown, Commonwealth Employees and those persons working on Commonwealth territory.[*See note below]
The Commonwealth Export Controls (Animals) Act ensures that all animals exported from Australia by air are inspected by Australian Quarantine Inspection Service officers, and that approval is given to containers in which animals are to be confined.
- Animals shipped by air within Australia are received by normal cargo staff and loaded and unloaded by normal baggage staff. Only animal containers are checked to ensure aircraft safety and hygiene standards.
General Information on the Air Transport of Animals
All provisions for the humane road transport of animals must be applied when animals are transported to the airport.
Only air cargo workers who have received proper animal-handling training, and understand their needs, should accept animals for air transport, and transfer them from the reception area and load them onto an aircraft.
Provision must be made for holding animals in a sheltered and quiet area before loading or after unloading from aircraft. Clean, fresh water must be made available, especially on warm days or where trans-shipping times are prolonged.
Airline companies accepting live animals for transport should:
- have in place at every airport from which they operate, a contingency plan to ensure prompt assistance for any animal which becomes ill or injured during air transport, and ensure that
- all staff handling animals understand that responsibility for the care of the animals rests with the officer-in-charge from the time the animals are accepted for transportation until they are discharged at the destination port
- containers are clearly labelled 'Live Animal - Handle With Care'
- they have a during and after-hours contact number for the consignee, and
- they contact the consignee if the aircraft is delayed or the animals are not collected promptly on arrival.
13 Apr 2007