Why is it so difficult to transport a pet to its destination safely?
In recent years, the population of pets in our country has gradually grown. Starting in 2019, the domestic pet industry has reached a market size of 100 billion yuan. However, the transportation of pets belongs to the pet service industry. At present, this industry still has low barriers to entry, lack of skill training for practitioners, and poor service capabilities, which has caused many tragedies.
Recently, chaos and violations in pet transportation have been frequently reported and exposed. For example, recently, unscrupulous pet consignment changed the air transportation of pet dogs to land transportation, which caused the dog to die from heat stroke in the car.
What kind of pet consignment is considered qualified?
Pets cannot be mailed by ordinary courier
Article 33 of the “Rules for the Implementation of the Postal Law of the People’s Republic of China” stipulates that “all kinds of live animals” cannot be transported in ordinary express delivery. This may not only harm pets, but from the perspective of disease prevention and control, there are many infectious diseases that can be carried on animals, some of which can be transmitted to other healthy animals, and some can also be transmitted to humans.
The blind pet box that has been reported in the news is an extremely bad way of consigning pets.
Many young animals are treated as inanimate objects, packed and transported like ordinary express delivery. The animals were kept for several days in a box with no water, no food, narrow space, and dark bumps. Most of them were dying when they were found. In addition to cats and dogs, animals sold in the form of blind animal boxes also include birds, rats, and tortoises.
Source: No. 37, Crime Squad
On May 3, 2021, at the Chengdu Zhongtong ordinary express outlet, the staff of the Animal Rescue Center found a large number of blind pet boxes containing kittens and dogs. These cats and dogs are packed like ordinary express delivery, and there is no animal quarantine certificate. After disease spot checks, it was found that some animals were carrying infectious viruses such as canine distemper and small.
On May 11, 2021, the Suzhou Zhongtong Express Transit Center was exposed again with blind pet boxes containing cats and dogs under the full moon, most of which have died. The express tracking information showed that these animals were picked up on May 5, sent to Panzhihua, Sichuan on the 8th, then returned, and were found at this transfer center on the 11th. In other words, these animals were kept for at least 6 days in a small, dark and bumpy environment with no water or food. Most of them were dead when they were found, and some of the puppies were found to have canine fever, a viral disease with a high mortality rate.
Take the two viruses detected in the blind pet box in the news as an example. Canine parvovirus is mainly transmitted through feces/oral cavity  . The virus of sick puppies will be excreted in the feces, and healthy animals may be infected if they accidentally lick items that have been in contact with the feces of sick animals. Canine distemper virus has also been tested in blind box animals. This virus is mainly spread through sneezing or coughing, and a sick pregnant bitch can also directly transmit the virus to puppies through the placenta  .
In order to prevent these viral infections, dogs should be vaccinated three times at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and 14-16 weeks with small, canine distemper virus vaccines [1,2] . According to reports, the milk cats and dogs in the blind box incident have not yet reached the full moon, so it is unlikely that they have been vaccinated. Even if you get the first shot of the vaccine, because the injection time is too early, maternal antibodies will interfere with the production of puppies’ antibodies. And because there is no second and third inoculation, the animal’s immunity to the virus will not be strong enough, coupled with the crowded and unclean delivery environment and the pressure of bumps, it increases the chance of the virus spreading between animals.
Even buyers who don’t buy blind boxes cannot sit back and relax. Parvovirus is very tenacious and ordinary soap cannot be killed.  If the feces of sick animals come into contact with other buyers’ products during transportation, these products will The virus is brought to many families and affects the health of more family pets. Although canine plague virus is more sensitive to disinfectants, recovered animals can still transmit the virus through urine, feces, nasal and eye mucosa secretions  , threatening other otherwise healthy animals.
Long-distance transportation is a pressure on animals. Under pressure, animals are more susceptible to disease, and animals that have been infected with the virus will also shed more virus. When animals of different origins meet during the transportation process, the risk of transmitting diseases to each other will increase sharply.
The unqualified transportation environment and long-distance turbulence have made it difficult for many animals to escape the fate of death. Because of the lack of quarantine, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites carried by animals also threaten the health of humans and other animals.
In addition to disease transmission, the animals in the blind box have no animal welfare at all.
Animal welfare can generally be evaluated from the “Five Freedoms”  . The “Five Freedoms” include “animals have freedom from hunger and thirst”, “animals have freedom from panic”, “animals have freedom from physical discomfort”, “animals have freedom from pain and disease”, and “Animals have the freedom to express natural behavior.”
The milk cats and dogs stuffed into the blind box were sent to all parts of the country by ordinary express delivery together with other items in a narrow express box. Many small animals that may not be weaned are suffering from lack of oxygen, water, and food. Under the circumstances, a tossing may last from a few days to a week or two, and the torture in the process can be imagined.
Many animals have also been tested to carry small, canine distemper virus during disease sampling. Animals suffering from canine fever and parvovirus will pull bloody loose stools, vomit, high fever, lack of water, and even epilepsy, etc. [1,2] , which is very painful.
Obviously, the use of ordinary express delivery of pets cannot satisfy any aspect of the “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare, and there is no animal welfare at all.
When rescuers opened the courier box, many puppies and kittens were in terrible condition
How to do the best for air consignment of pets
The most critical point of consigning pets, of course, is safety. No matter which kind of transportation you choose, you must ensure that your pet has enough space, adequate ventilation, and comfortable temperature and humidity.
For pets who need to face long-distance travel alone, reducing the time on the road is particularly important. The short air transportation time and good transportation environment may be a relatively comfortable way to transport pets over long distances. In terms of animal welfare, some airlines also allow smaller pets to enter the cabin. As for transport warehouses where most pets enter, airlines also have many requirements for their environment, such as constant temperature, constant pressure, and aerobic conditions.
In view of the fact that air consignment is a more familiar pet transportation method for many pet lovers, the following mainly uses air consignment as an example.
First of all, when making travel plans, contact the airline’s official channels as soon as possible to inquire about the regulations on pet consignment. Some flights do not allow pets to board, some aerobic cargo holds are very tight, some have regulations on the species, age, and size of pets, and some have requirements for the specifications and standards of air cages. When the outdoor temperature is too low or too high, some airlines will not accept pets in the cargo hold due to the safety of pets. In addition, for flat-faced short-nosed animals, such as pugs, Pekingese, Persian cats, etc., many airlines also refuse to check in due to health risks such as breathing difficulties and difficulty in regulating body temperature.
In terms of disease prevention and control, pets need to meet many inspection and quarantine requirements, whether it is domestic flight consignment or international flight consignment. Take domestic flights as an example, the owner needs to show proof of qualified animal quarantine and vaccination. International flights require different preparations according to different countries of entry, and sometimes there is an isolation observation period, but generally they require entry-exit inspection and quarantine health certificates, health declarations, vaccination certificates, etc. These certificates must pay attention to the timeliness requirements and be prepared to prevent animal diseases and zoonotic diseases from spreading domestically and internationally.
The earlier this information is learned, the more helpful it is to arrange pets.
Secondly, it is very important that the flight case is strong and not easy to open.
During air consignment, there are many requirements for the air box for pets, such as ventilation, sturdy materials, appropriate size, and pets that can stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably in it. The air box vents should be made of metal as much as possible, so pets are less likely to bite through the grille and escape. The door of the box must have a locking device, and check again and again before consignment to confirm that the cage door is tightly locked and tied with a firm rope.
From 2003 to 2006, among the 67 incidents of animal air transportation problems in my country, 15 were caused by the unqualified container quality or insufficient packaging material strength, which led to the escape of animals; and in 7 of the animal death cases, there were also In several cases, the animal was injured and died after the container was damaged. 
In 2006, there was an incident of death of a million-worth Tibetan mastiff during the consignment. On-site analysis revealed that the cage used to transport the Tibetan mastiff was made of thin iron wire. During the flight, the Tibetan mastiff damaged the outer wall of the cage and tried to get out, but was wrapped outside the cage Blocked by the net, the head stuck in the broken part of the cage, and the thin iron wire in the broken part was very sharp, which eventually led to the death of the sky-high Tibetan mastiff. If a stronger and safer container were used, this tragedy could have been avoided.
After choosing a safe flight box, you can also use some techniques to minimize the stress of your pet.
Many cats and dogs have a sense of fear in the flight case, and they often have to go through a fight before setting off in order to put them in the flight case. While the owner was exhausted physically and mentally, the pet was also in distress and was already very scared before he officially set off. In fact, there are ways to make pets fall in love with flight boxes.
The owner can usually put the portable cage outside and open it, and put some comfortable cushions inside, and sprinkle some snacks or dog food on it from time to time to help cats and dogs use this as their own safe haven. When pets equate the air box with stability and comfort + food paradise, they will naturally not be so nervous. On the contrary, they may see the air box and can’t wait to get in! I used this method to train my own Bunny, and the effect is very good. On the day of official transportation, food, water, and pets’ favorite toys can also be placed in the flight box to make the journey more comfortable.
When waiting for the flight, many airports also have special areas for pets to rest. For pets who are nervous and afraid of flying, they can find a veterinarian to prescribe anxiety-relieving drugs to improve the psychological state of the consignment’s impact on animal welfare.
I have brought three dogs waiting to be adopted from Beijing to Toronto in 2019. My suggestion is to bring as many changing pads and toilet paper as possible. At the airport, we did not find a convenient area for pets, so we had to take them to the bathroom for convenience. Changing pads and paper towels can make cleaning more convenient! The smaller dog was taken into the cabin with permission, and the two larger dogs were placed in the consignment warehouse. If possible, I recommend using soft-edged kennels in the cabin, which is lighter and easier to place under small tables and chairs.
A flight case with the right size, material, design, etc. is very important | petmate
For a small life to go through the journey safely, it needs a good environment and process, and it also requires joint efforts from the owner to the shipper. Only when the owner is prepared and the shipper standardizes the process can the animal’s health and safety during the consignment process be ensured to the greatest extent. Let the pets start happily and arrive safely.
Parvovirus in Dogs. (2021). Retrieved from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/parvovirus-in-dogs
Distemper in Dogs. (2021). Retrieved from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/distemper-in-dogs
What are the Five Freedoms? | BC SPCA. (2021, July 19). Retrieved from https://spca.bc.ca/faqs/five-freedoms
Wang Shi, Zhang Wei. Investigation and analysis of the safety of packaging containers for air transportation of wild animals[J]. Wildlife, 2009, 30(04): 210-213.
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