Written by PETA
© Anthony Aneese
Totah Jr | Dreamstime.com
The last time that John
and Julia Von Achen saw their beloved dog, J, alive, they were boarding a
flight from Moscow to New York. When the Von Achens
disembarked, they discovered that their dog had apparently frozen to death in the
cargo hold during the 11-hour flight.
"He's part of our
family. I'm heartbroken, devastated, destroyed," said John Von Achen Jr. "They
killed our dog."
Freezing aside (which can happen when temperature controls fail and external
temperature at altitude can be -50 or worse), animals are in grave danger in
plane cargo holds, but boxers, bulldogs, and pugs like J are at an especially high risk since their short muzzles
make breathing difficult under any even slightly stressful or abnormal circumstances.
Putting an animal in a cargo hold is often a death sentence, as they can turn into
freezers in the air and, during delays on scorching summer days, into ovens on
the ground, causing death from heat prostration. It happens all the time.
"It seems the
airlines are not equipped and they're not really set up to handle pets, but
they take the money anyway," Van Achen said, adding, "I'll never fly
with a pet again."
was far from the first dog
to perish in a cargo hold, and
he won't be the last. If you are planning to travel with your animals over the
Thanksgiving holiday or at any time, please keep their feet safely on the
ground and travel by car or, if they are small enough, fly them in the cabin
by Michelle Sherrow
Alisa Miller's worst nightmare came true last week when her dog Nala, who was flying to Germany with Miller, broke free of her crate and escaped from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Nala was missing for three days before she was found dead along Interstate 75 in Atlanta. She had apparently been struck by a vehicle and killed instantly. When Nala escaped, she and Miller were en route to Frankfurt, where Miller's husband, a soldier, is stationed. PETA's heartfelt sympathy goes out to Nala's family.
Nala's death serves as a tragic reminder of the dangers of allowing animals to fly in airplane cargo holds, which are normally unventilated and where engine noise can be deafening. Workers wear earplugs to protect their ears, but dogs, whose hearing is even more sensitive than humans', don't have this option. Terrified by the noise, they may frantically try to escape, injuring or killing themselves in the process. Dogs have been known to force carriers open by chewing on and throwing their bodies against the bars.
mike schmid/CC by 2.0 Animals are not "baggage".
If you're going on vacation, letting your companion animals stay at home with trusted friends or family is always the best option. If they must fly, consider booking a flight on the new animals-only airline, PetAirways. It offers coast-to-coast flights in which Pawsengers fly in the cabin and are cared for throughout the flight.
If you are traveling to a destination that is not yet served by PetAirways, ask the airline if your animal can ride in the cabin. If you have no choice but to place your animal in the cargo hold, book a nonstop flight and avoid traveling in extreme temperatures. Insist on seeing your companion loaded safely onto the plane, and don't board until you know that you are on the same flight as your animal. It is your job to protect your companion animal while flying. For more potentially lifesaving tips, see PETA's animal-friendly travel factsheet.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.