One of the most prominent live animals that are moved on the air and this happening on an ongoing basis are horses. It is estimated that both flying domestically and internationally, in some cases they fly even more frequently than some frequent airline travelers. The author notes that thousands of horses are moved each year by air by airlines. But the question remains about why is it necessary to ship an horse by air? One of the more compelling reasons is that the horses have to participate in major races around the US and abroad as well as racehorses, shows, and exhibitions for horses including rodeo events, polo matches, mustang relocations, as well as to take advantage of changes in seasons for feeding and breeding. These reasons especially the last one account for the major regular movement of horses between US and Europe, as well as to the Gulf region. When a live animal is being transported on a plane, it is one of the most complex and complicated aspects of air cargo. There are several needs for the live animal during transportation which might include the movement of household pets, zoo animals and animals that are kept in aquariums.
- There are two companies that transport horses by domestic air travel in the US: FedEx and the Tex Sutton Forwarding Company.
- International flights are more complicated due to individual country requirements for quarantines, health certificates, bloodwork, customs clearance, passports and other factors.
- US export and import shipments of horses are valued at close to $1 billion total annually, with the UK being the largest export destination, and Germany the top country for inbound shipments.
“On this latter point, there are regular annual moves of horses at different times of year between Argentina, Florida, northern Europe and the Gulf region, and between the southern U.S. states like Florida and northern states.”