Loss of Beloved Dog Prompts PETA to Call On Air Canada to Change Animal Travel Policy

Dogs and Cats Belong in the Cabin, Not in Cargo With the Baggage, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
October 15, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Montreal – In the wake of Montréal-based Air Canada’s loss of Larry, a 2-year-old dog who was being flown from San Francisco to Vancouver, PETA is calling on the airline to ensure that dogs and cats always have appropriate supervision en route, which means allowing them to travel in the cabin. In a letter sent today to airline officials, PETA suggests that the airline convert two rows of seating in every aircraft into kennels for dogs who cannot fit under the seat and sell those spaces at a premium. This will ensure that dogs and cats don’t get lost in busy cargo handling areas and prevent animals from suffering in cargo holds, which sometimes lack adequate ventilation and climate control and can reach extreme temperatures quickly, especially when delays leave planes sitting on the tarmac.

“Dogs and cats are beloved family members, not cargo—and being shipped like baggage is not safe or appropriate,” says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on Air Canada to ensure that cats and dogs can ride with the rest of the passengers in the plane’s cabin, where they will be supervised and secure.”

In its letter, PETA also points out that a new animal-friendly travel policy would be right on-trend for Air Canada, which banned the shipment of primates destined for laboratories last year.

For more information, please visit PETA.org

PETA’s letter to Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu follows.

October 15, 2013

Calin Rovinescu
President and Chief Executive Officer
Air Canada

Dear Mr. Rovinescu, 

On behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Canada, I am writing in response to the recent incident in which Larry, a 2-year old greyhound who was headed to his new home in Victoria, B.C., was lost by your airline. We know that animal welfare is important to your company, which banned the shipment of primates to laboratories in December 2012. In light of recent events, we hope you will take steps to protect cats and dogs as well by prohibiting the shipment of all animals in the cargo hold of any Air Canada aircraft in order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

Accidents happen far too often, and at PETA, our files are full of cases in which beloved dogs and cats escaped onto the tarmac in a foreign land, many never to be seen again. Some froze to death after climate-control systems had failed, whereas others died of heat prostration on the tarmac during lengthy delays, hurt themselves while forcing their way out of their carriers, or were injured or killed when heavy items fell during extreme turbulence. Some who “made it” were visibly shaken for the rest of their lives.

Instead of shipping animals as cargo—a dangerous practice with considerable risks for all involved—may we suggest that Air Canada convert two seating rows in every aircraft into cabin kennels for dogs who cannot fit under the seat? These spaces could be sold at a premium, as animal guardians would gladly pay for the safety and comfort that these seats would provide their animals. Such a helpful modification would set a wonderful example for other airlines to follow and make Air Canada a leader in animal-friendly travel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Very truly yours, 

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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