Monday, September 26, 2016

How Australian airlines are helping companion animals

Qantas is one airline committed to helping animals.

This weekend we left Australia on a jetplane to attend the inaugural One Welfare conference in Winnipeg, Mannitoba (you can read a bit more about One Welfare here).

Since most of the weekend was spent on a plane (of the Air Canada variety), I wanted to discuss some animal-friendly airline initiatives back home.

Those of you who have travelled in the sky are familiar with the little blankets given to passengers. And if you’ve been lucky to fly business or first class, you might even get a duvet or mattress cover.

Ever wondered what happens to those? For years, Qantas has donated them to humans in need.

But this year, Qantas teamed up with the RSPCA NSW to promote animal welfare and reduce waste by donating old blankets to animals in need. The blankets are cleaned and picked up by RSPCA NSW shelter trucks.

According to Customer Product and Service Development Phil [nice name] Capps,“We have donated blankets and duvets to people in need around the country for many years and we are really proud to extend our donation program to help animals. We are flying more people than we have ever before, which means we have more blankets to give, so it’s great they get a second opportunity for use by our four-legged friends.”

Images reproduced courtesy of Qantas.
RSPCA NSW uses the blankets for multiple species – including cats, dogs, ferrets and pocket pets.

It’s good to see that a product that might otherwise have limited use is being recycled in this way.

In another pet-friendly initiative, Virgin AustraliaCargo last month announced a partnership with pet transport company Jetpets to help unite rescue pets with foster carers and new owners – for free.

It means that cost of transport for adopting animals from non-profit organisations such as PetRescue will no longer be a barrier.

According to Virgin Australia Cargo Chief Executive Merren McArthur, “we understand that more and more Australians are making the great decision to adopt a rescue pet, so we’re delighted to be helping Jetpets and rescue organisations overcome distance and travel barriers so that pets can be matched with loving homes.”

Jetpets General Manager Belinda Gallpen added that while Jetpets has supported the work of rescue organisations like PetRescue for years, partnering with Virgin Cargo makes the process much easier.

“This allows more doors to be opened which increases the chance of pets finding loving adopter and foster homes.”

It’s great to see that Australian airlines are taking animal welfare seriously. We’re still looking forward to the day that animals will be able to be transported within the cabin so both animals and humans can relax a bit more.

Of course, not every individual animal or every species can be suitably transported in this way, but I do think the process would be much friendlier for animals travelling with people (and probably result in a few more people taking a holiday!).