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Legislation calls for airlines to investigate animal injuries


WASHINGTON - 6/15/05 - A new system imposed by the government to track animal safety starts July 1 for commercial airlines.

WASHINGTON - 6/15/05 - A new system imposed by the government to track animal safety starts July 1 for commercial airlines.

The Safe Air Transport for Animals Act was created for commercial airlines to report incidents of family-owned pet injuries or deaths during transport.

The new law gives pet owners access to reports tracking an airline's animal injury record.

Spearheading the introduction of the legislation, the American Society of Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) contends legislation was necessary because almost 2 million animals are traveling on commercial airlines each year.

ASPCA contends that while the new law is a start, it didn't go far enough.

The original legislation lobbied by the ASPCA would have required airlines to add temperature controlled and ventilated features to existing pressurized cargo holds. ASPCA's Lisa Weisberg, senior vice president of government affairs and public policy, adds, "This requirement, which was eliminated from the bill due to the opposition waged by the airline industry, would have better ensured the health and safety of the animals."

Domestic airlines are required to establish a tracking database for animals in the cargo hold separate from the current lost baggage claim system. In the event of an injury, airlines are required to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and take the necessary remedial action to prevent or minimize its occurrence in the future.

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