Transportation

Transportation of a Pet’s Remains

To support systems that will facilitate interstate and international transportation of a pet’s remains for an earth burial back home.

Need

The Entrance (2008 CC by nattu on flickr.com)Since our founding, we’ve been contacted by several families seeking a way to transport their pet’s remains back home.

If you ever travel with your pet, or if you and your pet temporarily move away from home and your pet dies, how will you transport your pet’s body if you want a burial back home? In the U.S., Homeland Security only allows air transport of a pet’s body if arranged by a licensed shipper. Yet where can one find such a service?   

Actions

Interstate Transportation: We seek to identify and encourage one entity (e.g., pet cemetery, pet transporter, veterinary practice, crematory, or mortuary) in every state to be licensed as a shipper in order to legally ship the body of a pet’s remains by air transport, whenever the need arises.

UPDATE (May 22, 2012) – we identified two local shippers (one in Miami and one in LA), as well as a national network of handlers, Animal Transporters, who will arrange for pick-up from and delivery to any city within the U.S.


International Transportation:
We seek to identify and encourage one entity (e.g., pet cemetery, pet transporter, veterinary practice, crematory, or mortuary) in every nation to be licensed as a shipper that can legally ship the body of a pet’s remains by air transport, whenever the need arises.

UPDATE (July 20, 2015) in 2012 we identified interstate shippers who would assist with the shipping of a pets remains within the U.S. We are now exploring transportation options – by air, ship or train – between nations. Due to international laws, this will be a much more daunting task. We welcome your stories, help and leads, and will post information and updates as we learn anything new.


Models

Within the U.S.

  • Pet Heaven Memorial Park in Miami, FL. They have an arrangement with United Airlines. All preparations are performed in their Miami facility, and can ship anywhere in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.
  • Pet Taxi LA in Los Angeles, CA. They have an arrangement with United Airlines.
  • Animal Transporters. Although based in Los Angeles, they work with handlers nationwide and can arrange the shipment from and to any city within the U.S. via United Airlines.

Internationally

  • TBD

Compassion vs. the Environmental Impact of Transport

This objective seems to contradict the goals of green burial – to be environmentally sound, we would all be buried near where we die in order to minimize the environmental impact of fuel and packing materials used in shipping a body. Some might argue that the money used for transportation could be spent in ways that would protect environments.

In fact, a relatively few will seek transportation services; if they are fortunate, they are likely to access flights already scheduled. Therefore, the main environmental problem regards packing materials, and we encourage the reuse of packing materials, including the marine cooler, whenever possible.

Yet there is something else to consider: a family’s bereavement. The primary reasons why we bury our loved ones’ remains are to honor their memory and gently return their bodies to the earth, while caring for ourselves during an intense period of grief. A true earth burial facilitates healing, therefore we must never sacrifice our compassion, empathy or humanity for the bereaved for an environmentalism that turns into emotionally-sterile advocacy.

Many families now travel with small animals whom they may carry onto a plane. Unless there is an accident, sudden illness, or a prolonged residency, most can arrange for their pet to die at or near home. Although it is a relatively rare occurrence for a family seeks to ship their pet’s body from one state, or one nation, to another, when that need arises, but the family is unable to bring their loved one home, the compounded grief can be overwhelming.

This objective seeks to provide bereaved families with a transportation system that may ease their pain at such difficult times.

updated July 20, 2015

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