Acclimation certificates/statements are used to allow airlines to ship dogs and cats when the airline cannot guarantee compliance with existing requirements as stated in the federal Animal Welfare Act regulations, Part 3, Subpart A – Specifications of the Humane Handling, Care, Treatment, and Transportation of Dogs and Cats (9 CFR § 3.13[e]) and, specifically the minimum temperature allowed by the regulations. Veterinarians may advise clients not to ship animals with transporters or airlines that cannot guarantee compliance with animal welfare regulations. In accordance with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, regardless of the temperature range suggested by the owner/authorized agent or veterinarian, ambient temperatures listed in the acclimation certificate/statement cannot be higher than 85° F for more than four consecutive hours while in animal holding areas of airport terminals or for more than 45 minutes while transferring the animal between the aircraft and the animal holding area. Veterinarians should exercise sound professional judgment when asked to make declarative statements about the safety or risks that arise from shipping specific animals outside of the provisions of the AWA.
Carriers or intermediate handlers whose facilities fail to meet the minimum temperature allowed by the standards may accept for transportation or transport, in commerce, any live animal if the consignor furnishes to the carrier or intermediate handler a certificate executed by an accredited veterinarian stating that such live animal is acclimated to air temperatures lower than those prescribed in the CFR (45° F).
Acclimation certificates/statements issued in accordance with 9 CFR section 3 no more than 10 days prior to delivery of the animal(s) for transportation should only be provided as a statement attached to a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and shall include at least the following information:
- Name and address of consignor
- The number and identification of animals in the shipment
- An acclimation certificate/statement
- The signature of the USDA accredited veterinarian, accreditation number, and date
Veterinarians who sign acclimation certificates/statements for the transportation of pet animals that may be exposed to adverse temperatures, should word their certifying statement as follows:
"The animal(s) in this shipment appear healthy for transport but need(s) to be maintained at a range of ambient temperatures (in Fahrenheit) to which the animal(s) has/have been acclimated, as determined in consultation with the owner/authorized agent to be no lower than (W degrees) for (X) minutes and no higher than (Y degrees not to exceed 85° F) for no longer than (Z) minutes."