Exclusive by Nick Mays
BRITISH AIRWAYS have instigated their own form of Breed Specific Legislation and have arbitrarily banned three breeds of brachycephalic flat-faced dogs from all flights that carry pets under the Pet Passport Scheme. The ban was placed on Bulldogs, Pekingese and Pugs just before Christmas 2002, although no formal statement was made as to this change of policy.
OUR DOGS learned of the breed ban via a Pekingese breeder who wished to fly some dogs to the UK under the PETS scheme. The breeder was informed that BA would no longer carry flat-faced breeds due to "health difficulties" that these breeds faced whilst flying.
OUR DOGS contacted BAs Press Office on Tuesday of this week to enquire whether such a policy existed. Press Officer Richard Goodfellow stated that he was unaware of such a policy but said that he would check with BAs World Cargo division. Shortly afterwards, Mr Goodfellow confirmed that such a breed-specific ban had been initiated just before Christmas."
Mr Goodfellow told OUR DOGS: "British Airways have taken veterinary advice concerning three breeds of flat faced dog Bulldogs, Pugs and Pekingese and have decided that we will no longer carry these breeds on BA flights, due to the respiratory problems these breeds can face. These problems can be exacerbated by stress and air travel can be stressful to dog, hence our decision."
When asked whether any kind of consultation had taken place with either the Kennel Club or any of the Breed Clubs, Mr Goodfellow added: "We work closely with vets and take their advice. As the carriers operating under the pet passport scheme, we can decide which breeds of dog we carry on our flights, so, to my knowledge, no further consultation took place other than via our vets."
BAs breed specific policy is reminiscent of American Airlines arbitrary ban on a number of breeds last year, following an isolated incident when a Pit Bull terrier escaped in the hold of a plane on a domestic flight and caused an unspecified amount of damage. In this case, AAs insurers specified which breeds could or could not be carried. The BA ban on brachycephalic breeds, taken on the advice of vets, again without any reference or independent advice from any other source, is bound to cause ill feeling and outrage amongst breeders of those breeds affected. Whether the ban was instigated because of an incident involving one of the named breeds suffering during a flight is not known and was not conveyed to BAs Press Office.
OUR DOGS will conduct further investigations into the origin of BAs breed ban and publish our findings in a subsequent issue.
If you wish to protest about British Airways breed ban, please contact:
Gareth Kirkwood, Managing Director, British Airways World Cargo, PO Box 365, Harmondsworth, Middlesex UN7 0GB, Tel: 0845 7799977