Homeless animals in Australia's North West, which would have previously been saved and rehomed by being flown throughout Australia by a statewide animal rescue group, now face little chance of survival as a result of a massive increase (400-1000+%) in freight charges introduced by Qantas last month.
Examples of the price increases include the following: to fly a 45kg dog from Karratha to Perth now costs $421, where prior to the rate charge it was $79, and to transport a 10kg dog from Kununurra to Perth is now $354, previously it was $33.
The ability to fly animals out of the North West has been an integral part of the life-saving work of Saving Animals from Euthanasia (SAFE) since its inception in 2003, an option that is no longer financially viable.
SAFE is a not-for-profit animal rescue organisation which was founded in the Pilbara by Sue Hedley. It now operates 12 rescue branches within Western Australia. The branches most affected by these freight hikes are Newman, Tom Price, Hedland, Karratha, Broome and Kununurra. These 6 branches have saved thousands of animals, with the majority being flown out of these smaller towns to their new homes. Australian Air Express (AAE) came on board as a SAFE sponsor in the early days, and their subsidisation of freight costs was a prime reason for SAFE’s early success. Qantas acquired AAE in 2012, and continued to support SAFE until this year, when the rate increases were announced. Without affordable freight charges, dozens of rehomeable animals in the North West will be euthanised by pounds each week or die in appalling conditions.
We are imploring Qantas to reverse their decision, particularly at this time of year. Not only is it kitten season, but the North West towns are primarily populated by a transient work force, who often leave town over the Christmas holidays. This results in higher relinquishment rates to SAFE. To date our pleas to Qantas have been unsuccessful.
We are urging the community to join us in pleading with Qantas to rethink its decision, and reinstate its former rates to enable us to continue saving animals from WA’s far North West.
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From 1 November 2014 to 8 December 2014, Qantas freight charged to the Karratha branch alone stood at $7244.79AU. If you'd like to donate towards this you can do so via the SAFE website How to Help/Donate page. The Karratha branch is set up with PayPal.
SAFE Karratha records a weekly radio show via Spirit Radio--this petition is featured on the 8 December 2014 show