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American Ferret Association receives the USDA Fine & Settlement Agreement against US Airways for December, 2000 baby ferret catastrophy

Update: September, 2002: The following story was first published to the AFA website in July, 2002. As of September, 2002, US Airways has still not paid their fine, and has since declared bankruptcy, calling to question whether this fine will ever be paid.

SYNOPSIS OF THE "CONSENT DECISION AND ORDER" REGARDING THE SETTLEMENT OF THE "48 FERRET KITS DIE" CASE

For public knowledge, US Airways also settled at the same time on two similar complaints; one on June 20, 2001 involving 56 live prairie voles from Orlando to Tallahassee, FL - five animals died of heatstroke and one was euthanized; the second occurred on August 8, 2001 in which US Airways transported 15 live rodents from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, PA - five animals died of heat-related stress.

#1 - US Airways was fined a total of $50,000

#2 - US Airways shall implement continuing steps and processes to ensure the highest degree of care and treatment for all live animals being transported throughout its ENTIRE system (this includes US Airways "short-hop" airlines running under the name of US Airways Express). Specifically, US Airways shall accept live animals through their priority shipments ONLY and will cease to accept or transport live animals as cargo or general freight shipments. This will apply to ALL US Airways flights. While US Airways reserves the right to make additional changes to the procedures by which it transports live animals, including the restoration of the carriage of live animals as cargo or general freight shipments, it has stated it has no current plans to do so.

#3 - In addition to existing training procedures, the respondent shall design and implement a new computer-based training course for all employees that directly handle, supervise, or manage the transportation of live animals. This shall be implemented within a period of six (6) months.

#4 - US Airways shall update its cargo website to provide consumers with specific up-to-date information on the manner and process by which it transports live animals. Specifically, they shall outline the new policy to accept and transport live animals only as priority shipment, including details regarding how live animal shipments can be tracked during transit, where live animal shipments can be dropped off and picked up and information about US Airways live animal training and educational efforts.

#5 - US Airways shall send a broadcast message to all employees detailing the need to follow all applicable procedures and is required to address these procedures, through ALL Regional Cargo Customer Service Managers, on their next bi-weekly conference calls with their staff.

#6 - US Airways shall impose an embargo on all US Airways Express flights, regardless of the method of shipment and shall keep this embargo in place until it is satisfied that all requirements of this Order (by USDA) have been fully implemented.

#7 - The provisions of this Order becomes effective immediately.

Signed by both US Airways and Attorney for USDA on June 21, 2002 in Washington, DC

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