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The airline QANTAS, is coming under increased pressure to revise its ban on preventing the American Staffordshire Terrier from flying with the airline.
Growing pressure via a petition on the website change.org, in conjunction with social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, call for the airline to drop the ban which restricts the flight of the breed in freight transport.
American Staffordshire terriers are one of six breeds banned from flying with Australian Air Express, the air-freight transport service partner of QANTAS. The other breeds on the list include Brazilian Fila, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, American Pit Bull and Pit Bull Terrier. Of those breeds on the list, the American Staffordshire Terrier is the only none restricted breed in Australia. The other five are classified as restricted breeds and have strict guidelines outlining their importation, ownership, registration, and supervision. Physical similarities between the American Staffordshire Terrier and those Pit Bull breeds on the restricted list have in the past resulted in misconceptions regarding the nature of the breed, resulting in policies such as that of QANTAS.
Currently over 5,200 people have signed the petition, but Pauline Steele (the American Staffordshire Terrier owner who initially started the petition) hopes more people will give their support to the cause. The petition is important not only in bringing about a change in the QANTAS policy making transport of the breed easier, but also in helping clarify the misconceptions surrounding the breed.
Policies based on breed, such as the QANTAS ban, fail to take into consideration the whole picture. Genetics, specifically breed, are just one of the factors impacting the development of aggressive tendencies. The Australian Veterinary Association recognizes five factors that play a part in a dog’s tendency to bite: “heredity (genes, breed), early experience, socialisation, and training, health (physical and psychological) and victim behavior”. Other factors which may influence a dog’s tendency to bite include; age, sex, and whether the dog is entire or desexed.
While QANTAS already has guidelines in place to ban individual dogs on the basis of aggression or agitation, early correspondence from the airline shows they currently have no plans to change their guidelines surrounding specific breeds. This is in spite of other airlines, such as United Airlines and American Airlines, changing their guidelines in 2012 to allow for the transport of the American Staffordshire Terrier Breed.
NEWS UPDATE: As of August 1, 2013, the ban has been lifted. Click here for full details.
If you have interest in the petition that was circulated, you can find out more at the following link, Amstaff Petition.