Animals On Planes: 1,200 Chickens Flown Cross-Country

Animals on planes: flying chicken
Flickr, Caleb Howell

More than 1,000 chickens lucked into a peaceful retirement starting with a cross-country flight to upstate New York. The white Leghorn chickens are past their prime egg-laying days, too lean to be eaten, and would have been slaughtered if the Animal Place rescue organization hadn’t stepped in to find them new homes. On Wednesday night, 1,200 chickens were loaded onto a private cargo plane from California to Elmira, New York. Operation Chicken Airlift cost $50,000 and was paid for by an anonymous donor.

The poultry were just another example of animals transported by air:

  • After learning how overcrowded California animal shelters are with tiny dogs, airlines including Virgin America have stepped up with Operation Chihuahua, transporting dozens of dogs to New York for adoption. West coasters can help prep the dogs for flight with “bathing, caging and snuggling” with Project Flying Chihuahuas.
  • The Department of Transportation now recommends that U.S. carriers allow certain unusual animals in the cabin as service or therapy animals. This may include pot-bellied pigs, monkeys or miniature horses (!), as long as they don’t cause a “significant disruption” in service.

Last year, many internet users fell for an adorable hoax photo of a panda cub flying in business class. The fake China Airlines press release noted that Squee Squee ate bamboo, “with a side of bamboo, and bamboo mousse for dessert.”

Have you seen any unusual animals on a plane?