Admin NOTE:  Forwarded on behalf of Ross Hayes, HARC

Good afternoon everybody, I hope you are all keeping safe and well in this difficult time?  The Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) team have worked extremely hard during the Covid – 19 pandemic to ensure we can remain open throughout, facilitate as many movements as possible, keep our charges the same but most importantly maintain the highest levels of animal welfare. Staff numbers for this period are the same as 2019 and we have no plans to change this. We have noticed that over the last few weeks the number of movements has begun to increase significantly hence this e-mail. Before the Covid pandemic the HARC was running at maximum capacity, albeit not every day, but enough for us to realise that new/updated facilities are required. This is a separate project the City of London, HAL and their stakeholders are still working towards. I am here to advise today on the here and now. The HARC  team recognise that there is backlog of animals that need to get to their final destination and we want to work with all parties to make this happen. This backlog does however mean the HARC is over capacity on a daily basis and this is something we cannot allow to continue with no end date in sight. For that reason the HARC have taken the decision to  implement some interim measures/restrictions. We hope this will allow us to maintain a more manageable throughput but if this is not the case we will have to consider additional, more restrictive measures. The current measures are shown below:

  • There will be a limit on the number of the animals the HARC can accept on any one day.
  • The HARC will still not be accepting any dog and cat shipments on weekends unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Each flight will be restricted to approximately 5-7 animals. That being said the total number of pre-notified animals over the course of the day will also be taken in account and if over capacity on that day the shipment will not be accepted.
  • Larger shipments can be considered but adequate notification will be required, of at least 21 days. If adequate notice is provided this does not mean the shipment is guaranteed, shipments already pre-notified will take precedence but we will do our best to accommodate depending on space.
  • The HARC will only accept pre-notifications from airlines. These will in turn be added to HARCs daily notification database (PHILIS). There is no time limit to the pre-notification period. The sooner the confirmed booking pre-notification is received from the airline the sooner it can be allocated against that days throughput.
  • At present there is no charge for booked shipments that do not arrive. We are aware that other airports make a charge for this, so it  will be monitored closely and reviewed.

Apologies if these requirements seem draconian but this is the only way we can manage throughput , safely facilitate these shipments and maintain the highest animal welfare standards. We will of course regularly review the situation as things change so quickly these days and get back to you all accordingly.



Ross Hayes

Deputy Manager

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Heathrow Animal Reception Centre