Transportation

Interstate Transportation

To support systems that will facilitate the transportation of a pet’s remains from one state to another for an earth burial back home.

Need

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

If you ever travel with your pet, or if you 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. But where can one find this service?   

Actions

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

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

Models

  • 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 in the U.S. via United Airlines.

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 moneys used for transportation could be spent in ways that would protect environments. In truth, a relatively few will seek this service and they’ll use flights that are already scheduled. The main environmental issue would be in regard to packing materials, and we encourage the reuse of packing materials, including the marine cooler used for transport.

Yet there is another context to consider: a family’s bereavement. The primary reasons why we bury our loved ones are to honor their memory as we care for ourselves during an intense period of grief. An earth burial can facilitate healing, but advocacy for green burials must never sacrifice our compassion, empathy or humanity to an emotionally sterile environmentalism.

Although more, smaller companion animals are travelling with their families, most pets will likely die at or near home. It will be a relatively rare occurrence when a family seeks to ship their pet’s body from one state to another. Yet when that desire presents itself, the compounded grief of being unable to bring a loved one home can be immense. This objective seeks to provide bereaved families with a transportation system that may ease their pain at such difficult times.

updated July 18, 2012

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