Dog death spike sparks change to Qantas’ flying policy
Qantas is putting a temporary ban on new freight bookings for snub-nosed dogs including boxers, bulldogs and pugs as it changes its travel policy for these popular breeds.
The ban, which is expected to be in place for the next two weeks, will affect new customers keen to travel on the airline with their pets.
Qantas is now working with the RSPCA and other animal experts to change its current procedures after it has seen a "tragic spike in deaths of snub nose dogs in extreme weather".
Recently, Anthony Balletta lost his year-old bulldog Frank after he died during a Sydney to Melbourne flight that cost $1100 for the dog alone.
A range of new measures being introduced by Qantas Freight will require all snub-nosed dogs to be cleared to fly by a registered vet immediately before they travel.
Customers will also be recommended to use registered animal shipping companies, who have vets based at major capital city airports.
Airport equipment will also be reviewed to provide more tarmac protection for vulnerable
breeds in extreme, hot weather and staff will reduce the time animals need to spend on the tarmac before being loaded on to a plane.
Qantas Freight's new policy changes will not apply to customers with existing bookings and non snub-nosed dog breeds.
These dogs will also not require a vet's approval for travel.
Qantas Freight's Chief Customer Officer Nick McGlynn said the new policy was about balancing owners and pets needs while looking after their welfare.
"We already have special procedures in place for these vulnerable breeds and the simple
thing for us would have been to introduce a blanket ban," he said.
"We know many owners love to take their pets with them when they travel, so we're designing a way to help reduce the risks that are inherent with these particular breeds.
"These types of dogs are hugely popular but unfortunately they are high-risk flyers due to
their respiratory system and breathing problems.
"The risk is even higher in hot conditions and this summer we've seen a tragic spike in deaths of snub nose dogs in extreme weather."
More than 40,000 pets are flown across Qantas' domestic network every year, including
some 2,000 snub nosed dogs.
Qantas ruled out plans to have vets in its cargo hold as it would mean redesigning its aircraft to accommodate them.
"Key among the changes we're making is requiring sign-off from a vet before snub-nosed
breeds can travel with Qantas, giving them the final say," Mr McGlynn said.
RSPCA Australia's Senior Scientific Officer, Dr Sarah Zito, welcomed the proposed changes from Qantas.
"Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds face particularly high risks from air transport especially during summer months," she said.
"Their extreme features mean they often struggle to breathe and regulate their body temperature effectively, even in mild conditions, let alone at the hottest times of the year or on a plane.
"We're very pleased to see Qantas building upon their existing policies to acknowledge and work toward addressing these risks.
"We look forward to working with Qantas to review the conditions under which these breeds are transported, and would urge pet owners to consider all potential risk factors prior to flying their pets."