If you take Rover on vacation with you when you fly, the travel cost could jump 34 per cent under new regulations being considered by the Department of Agriculture. It will also cost more to add a Fido or Kitty or another pet to your household, according to department economists.
The new government rules would apply to the transportation industry and the added costs are expected to be passed to pet stores and owners. The new rules set standards for pet containers, length of time the animals can be left in a terminal, how often they must be fed and watered and other health and safety standards.
The rules result from changes in the law Congress made last year after publicity about organized dog fighting. Animal welfare groups also have long complained about mistreatment of animals during shipments between dealers or while accompanying owners.
The rule would cost consumers business and the government altogether almost $11.5 million a year, department economists said. The airlines and cargo industry would have to raise shipping rates by 34 per cent to cover the added expenses.
The overall economic impact "is not considered inflationary to the economy as a whole" under standards established by the White House budget office, the department's statement said.
Airlines and other cargo firms licensed by the USDA ship about 409,000 pets and zoo animals each year and about as many are shipped by individuals, almost all by air, the department said.
The USDA is taking written comments on the proposal until April 22 before issuing a final version. Comments should be sent to Deputy Administrator, USDA, APHIS-VS, Room 703, Federal Building, 6505 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, Md. 20782.