In the wake of numerous accounts of animal deaths and other mishaps on major airlines, many questions have been raised about what carriers plan to do to ensure the safety of their four-legged passengers. United Airlines has even gone so far as to suspend its PetSafe program pending a thorough review of its processes.

In response, on Thursday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — the trade association for the world’s airlines — announced the launch of a new standardized global certification program to improve the safety and welfare of animals traveling by air. IATA members include 280 airlines that account for 83 percent of total air traffic.

Called the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators for Live Animals Logistics (CEIV Live Animals), the program will create benchmarks and certify best practices for transporting animals.

“As an industry, we have a duty of care to ensure that standards and best practices are in place around the world to protect the welfare of these animals,” Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security said. “For those shipping live animals, the CEIV Live Animals program will provide a reliable quality benchmark.”

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