Airline group says it's setting safety standards for animals

By The Associated PressMarketsAssociated Press

An airline trade group says it's setting safety standards for pets shipped on planes.

The move follows several recent incidents including the death of a puppy in an overhead bin on a United Airlines flight.

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The International Air Transport Association said Thursday it's starting a program in which airlines will be able to certify that they meet standards for safe handling of animals.

The group says airlines ship millions of animals safely every year. When things go wrong, however — as when a United flight attendant told a passenger to put her dog carrier in the overhead bin last month — it hurts the industry's image.

The Transportation Department says that of about 500,000 animals shipped as cargo on U.S. planes last year, 24 of them died, including 18 on United.