Closed petition Let airlines allow pets in the airplane’s cabin to and from the UK

Change the rules of animal travel so they can travel with their owners (with all the documentation and vaccines in order) inside airplanes instead of in the hold with luggage.
It is allowed in many other countries around the world, including in the EU, South America, and the USA.

More details

Many pets are seen as an extension of the family. Many airlines allow pets up to 9kg to travel to most countries inside the airplane cabin, in their pet carrier, instead of in the cargo hold. However, they are not allowed on most airplanes coming to the UK, regardless of their size.
This not only distresses the pets and owners, it also risks their health and safety, having several cases of injured, sick, or even dead pets because of the conditions of the flight, as they are treated as luggage.

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Government responded

This response was given on 11 November 2021

Pets entering Great Britain travel as ‘manifest cargo’ to facilitate import checks upon arrival. Other rigorous requirements ensure their welfare needs in transport are met.

We have amongst the highest standards of animal welfare and biosecurity in the world, both of which we take extremely seriously.

The Government takes the importation of pets seriously and is committed to preserving our high standards of biosecurity and animal welfare.

All pets travelling into Great Britain (GB) are checked for compliance with the necessary health and documentary requirements prior to entry. To facilitate these checks, all pets entering GB airports must be transported safely and securely to the pet checking facility.

Operations at airports are sensitive and complex, and other vital border controls also need to be considered. In practice, this means that most pets are required to travel to GB by air as 'manifest cargo'. This enables the pets to be transferred directly to the pet checking facility and not through the main airport terminal. This approach ensures that a documentary record of the pet’s arrival is available to customs and other border control officials.

There are rigorous requirements in place for the transport of animals by air. Carriers must ensure that air quality and quantity, temperature and pressure is maintained whilst the animals are onboard. The length of journey determines how much food and water must also be provided.

Stringent requirements are also in place for pet transport containers under the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations (LAR), with space and ventilation concerns paramount.

Attendants accompanying animals during the flight must ensure that the welfare of the animals is protected. It is often the case, that pets will travel better in the hold instead of the aircraft cabin, because it is quieter, and they will be resting in a darkened environment.

We have no immediate plans to change the process by which pet cats, dogs and ferrets may enter GB by air.

Currently, the only animals that are authorised to travel in the cabin of a commercial aircraft into GB are Recognised Assistance Dogs. The number of Recognised Assistance Dogs in the cabin will be determined by the airline and may be restricted for health and safety reasons depending on passenger information and numbers. Pets may also enter GB via the Eurotunnel rail route in a vehicle or by sea routes on a number of ferry operators.

A list of the carriers approved to carry pets into GB can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pet-travel-approved-air-sea-rail-and-charter-routes-for-the-movement-of-pets

More information on travelling to GB with your pet or assistance dog can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/bring-pet-to-great-britain

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate pet travel on Thursday 2 December

MPs will hold a debate on pet travel on Thursday 2 December in Westminster Hall. The debate will be led by Sheryll Murray MP.

The debate will start at 3pm and last for up to an hour and a half.

Watch the debate: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/46bdde53-5e55-490c-93fc-1e6ccd879646

You'll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-12-02

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

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