Transport guidelines - ADVICE TO CARRIERS

1. General welfare
1.1 Animals should have priority over merchandise.
1.2 Generally, only animals that are in good health should be transported, but there may be occasions when it may be necessary, in the animals' interest, for them to travel to a location where the appropriate treatment can be given. On such occasions it is probable that the animal will be accompanied by a qualified veterinarian or trained attendant.
1.3 Pregnant animals, or animals that are still dependent on their mother, should not be transported, but there are exceptions to this. It is not always possible to ascertain if an animal is pregnant; certain species may safely be transported in the early stages of pregnancy; it may be in the best interests of an animal for it to be moved to a location where conditions are more suitable for it to give birth to its young. Females of many species are pregnant for most of their lives and it is, therefore, not practicable to avoid shipping them when they are in this condition. It is clearly inadvisable to transport animals that are still dependent on their mothers, but there may be sound reasons for doing so.
1.4 Sedation is inadvisable, as the side-effects are still not fully known and, furthermore, animals that are in a lethargic state are very vulnerable to injury if violent movement of the aircraft, ship, lorry or train is experienced. If there are exceptional circumstances which merit sedation, then a qualified veterinarian should normally accompany the animal.
1.5 Generally, animals of different species should not be housed in the same container, but there are exceptions to this. Compatibility depends on several factors, such as sex, state of maturity, physical size and the nature of the animals concerned. Furthermore, animals of the same species should not be housed in the same container unless it is known that they are compatible with one another. Under certain conditions each unit of a fully partitioned container can be treated as a separate container.
1.6 The handling of animals should only be resorted to when absolutely necessary, i.e. in cases of sickness or the removal of carcasses. Handling is very disturbing to the animals and, furthermore, there is a real risk of infection, as many animals are carriers of diseases that can be passed on to humans.
1.7 Dealing with sickness or injury during transport depends on a number of factors. If sickness or injury occurs during an air journey, it may not be possible to take any action, as the animals may be housed in the baggage hold of the aircraft, and the animals' condition may only be observed on landing. On arrival at an airport, the nearest veterinarian or, in the case of some exotic species, zoo should be contacted. A similar course of action would apply for journeys by sea or land – action would have to be taken without delay at the first stop.
1.8 Humane destruction during transport is, again, a matter that depends on several factors. Destruction should only be resorted to on the advice of either a veterinarian, or a person who has experience of the species in question. In the event of danger to human life, due to behaviour of an animal, then the captain of the aircraft or ship will take such action as he deems necessary, in the interests of safety.
1.9 The removal of sick and dead animals from containers is, normally, only possible at stops, except in the case of sea voyages when carcasses could be disposed of and other accommodation could possibly be found for sick animals. However, the removal of carcasses is a matter which very much depends on circumstances. In some cases, particularly on very short journeys, it may be advisable to leave dead animals in their containers, rather than disturb the others; this particularly applies to birds. On the other hand, many airlines will not accept containers that house any dead animals. It is important that veterinary advice, or advice from a person experienced in the handling and care of the species, should be sought before a carcass is disposed of, to establish the cause of death, and to establish whether any infectious disease is involved.
1.10 Arrangements for feeding and watering will depend on the species of animal involved, and the duration of the journey. For lengthy journeys by land or sea, full facilities should be provided for adequate food. An adequate supply of water is essential for most species, and steps should be taken to ensure that there is no danger of drowning.
1.11 Some fishes, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are able to survive without distress for long periods without food, and some reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates survive for long periods without water. Furthermore, it may be advisable to withhold food for 24 hours before shipment, as this minimizes pollution of the water or packing material involved for transport.
1.12 When fishes are undergoing lengthy journeys, great attention should be paid to the water temperature, and every effort made to keep this within the range specified on the labelling. Also, it may be necessary to re-oxygenate the water for certain species, using the equipment provided on the container.
1.13 To avoid cross-infection, and for health and hygiene reasons, human contact with animals should be avoided. Animals, therefore, should not be housed near foodstuffs or in places to which unauthorized persons have access.
1.14 No animal should be transported with radioactive material or other substances dangerous to health.
1.15 Containers should be secured to the aircraft, rail wagon, lorry or ship to avoid any possible movement and, when being handled, it is important that every care should be taken to ensure that the containers are kept in a horizontal position.
2. Advance arrangements for transport
2.1 When animals are being transported over long distances, and will be passing from one climatic zone to another, it is important that care should be taken to plan the journey so that animals are not suddenly moved to a country having a contrasting climate to that to which they are accustomed, unless a controlled environment is available.
2.2 Great distress can be caused to animals due to prolonged transit stops at airports, ports or marshalling yards. It is, therefore, most important that, on occasions when these transit stops are likely to occur, proper arrangements be made in advance to ensure that they are not subjected to extremes of temperature. On aircraft, the heating and air conditioning systems are frequently shut down on such occasions, and arrangements would therefore have to be made, either for the animals to be off-loaded and held in more suitable conditions until the journey is resumed, or for emergency fans or heaters to be brought into service during the stopover.
2.3 Advance preparation should be made for any necessary quarantine measures or other animal health regulations at the ports of intermediate stops or final destination.
2.4 Animal consignments should be collected promptly at their final destination. However, in the event of unanticipated delay, the help of a veterinarian, local animal welfare organization, or person experienced in the care and handling of the animals concerned, should be obtained. If live animals have to be left for prolonged periods in airports, ports, railway yards, etc., they should be housed in places to which unauthorized persons do not have access. Animals that are already under considerable stress, as a result of being transported, suffer great distress through unnecessary interference by curious members of the public. Crated animals should be kept away from direct exposure to the sun and inappropriate temperatures.
2.5 Cash on delivery facilities should not be used for animals.
3. Containers
3.1 In order to allow for the use of suitable local materials, no precise specification has been laid down as to the materials from which containers should be constructed. For many animals, the preferred material will be timber, but such materials as bamboo, cardboard, hardboard, plastics and metal, may often be suitable for the construction of containers.
3.2 The use of expanded polystyrene is recommended for reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates, as this material has excellent heat insulation properties. When considerable mechanical strength is necessary, then a rigid outer casing should be provided.
3.3 In order to ensure sufficient rigidity and strength, it is almost always necessary to build containers on a framework when timber or hardboard is employed. In the case of certain large animals, the use of bolts and nuts in place of screws and metal reinforcement for corners, and for walls and roof, is also to be recommended.
3.4 It is important that all containers should have inner surfaces which are completely free of any projecting nails, screws, ends of mesh or any other sharp or jagged materials which could cause injury to the animal. Moreover, if any wood preservative or paint is used on the containers, it should not be toxic or a skin irritant.
3.5 For some animals a slatted or mesh floor is preferable, in order that urine and excreta may be trampled through by the animals and fall into the liquid-proof trays beneath the floor. The dimensions of the slats, and the spacing between them, will be governed by the species of animal to be housed; the spacing should be such that there is no possibility of the animals' feet being trapped.
3.6 Animals that have strong gnawing or clawing habits should be transported in containers, the walls of which have been lined with sheet metal or welded mesh of sufficient strength. The slatted floor should not be lined as protection against the escape of the animals is afforded by the liquid-proof trays beneath. Absorbent bedding may be used in the containers in place of a slatted floor and tray.
3.7 Birds travel more satisfactorily in semi-darkness and most mammals undergo less stress if a burlap or similar loose-weave cover is fitted over any mesh or bar front to the containers; this should, however, be easily removable for inspection, feeding and watering purpose. Care should be taken that ventilation is not impaired.
3.8 In most cases the containers are more satisfactory if sliding doors are fitted, as the ingress and egress of the animals is more easily controlled than with hinged doors.
3.9 One of the causes of death in animals during transport is lack of sufficient air, so great attention should be paid to the ventilation of containers. Regardless of the fact that containers may have mesh or bar fronts, ventilation holes should be provided in all walls and, in certain cases, also in the roof. The diameter of these holes should be governed by the species of animal the container is to house, and it is important that no part of the animal should be able to protrude through these holes; in the case of certain animals, these holes would require to be covered with fine mesh. However, in spite of this, careful attention should also be given to insulation.
3.10 An additional safeguard against animals being asphyxiated should be provided, by fitting spacer bars on all sides, top and bottom of containers. The size of the spacer bars should be governed by the container size.
3.11 On long journeys, many animals should be provided with suitable bedding material, however, many countries do not allow certain materials such as straw to be imported and the requirements of the receiving country should be established if this type of bedding material is to be used.