Four years ago the Schiphol Animal Centre (SAC) opened its doors at Cargo Terminal 5 at handling agent, dnata. Already many developments have taken place. What has remained unchanged though is the focus on the welfare of the animals ‘travelling’ via the SAC.
Cargo Magazine spoke with Edwin Hofstede who, together with his team, is responsible for the SAC.
“When the first sketches for the SAC were produced, we could not imagine that we would grow so quickly in barely five years”, Edwin says. The SAC, which cooperates with handling agent dnata, was originally established to give Schiphol a competitive advantage over other European airports where accommodation for horses was less well organized. At SAC the animals receive VIP treatment and can rest after an exhausting flight and before continuing their journey. “Expensive racehorses arrive at what is really a ‘hotel’, they receive fresh hay and drinking water and are checked by our own veterinarian. This is a stark contrast to airports where animals must wait for their onward transport in the same container in which they travelled on board”, tells Edwin.
Not only horses
In the first place, the SAC only had horses as ‘hotel guests’. But, as happens in a world with many personal contacts, word spread quickly about the excellent service offered to animals. As a result SAC can now also add other animals to its clientele. Edwin: “That is indeed true: recently zebras were stretching their legs and recovering from their flight in our stalls. We are also receiving ever
Not long ago SAC received an unusual assignment. A customer wanted to specifically transport her two dogs from Johannesburg to Hong Kong in a horse stall. Edwin: “Yes, our love for pets can be far-reaching. Of course we met this request and the dogs had lots of space in the horse stall. And what made it even more unusual was that a groom had to travel on the flight to take care of the dogs on board. Now that really is a VIP service for animals.”
“We do everything we can to reduce the waiting time for animals”, Edwin advises. “The SAC is open 24/7, our employees are professionally trained and highly committed to animal welfare.”
All of SAC’s facilities are equipped to provide outstanding care for animals. There are 24 permanent stalls in four separate units. SAC also has the possibility of placing a further 15 mobile
stalls. Both the inspection point and the stalls are fitted with cameras to allow permanent monitoring.
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