US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning the sale of dog crates, a move that is expected to impact pet travel in the country and could also affect travel to Thailand.
The US has been cracking down on pet travel since Mr Trump took office in January, with travel bans and restrictions on imports of certain breeds of dogs imposed.
The ban will apply to pet travel to and from the US, and to travel to the US from abroad, which has been restricted to a limited number of pet stores and breeders.
However, it is likely to apply to travel between Thailand and the US as well, as the two countries are both located in the Indian Ocean region, a major source of trade.
“The ban is expected, but not mandatory, to apply from July 1 to September 30, 2019,” a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statement said.
“However, travel between the US and Thailand is not subject to this ban, as there is no border between the two jurisdictions.”
The statement added that the CBP would continue to monitor the situation closely and advise travelers on their options for traveling between the states.
“If you are unsure if your pet travel arrangements are affected by the ban, you may contact your pet’s breeder,” it said.
Thailand was not included in the ban in a statement given to ABC News.
But the ban will affect a number of other pet travel routes as well.
The Animal Legal Defence Fund, which advocates for animal welfare, said the US ban on importing pet crates was “the first step” in its plans to regulate pet travel.
“This is the first step towards a national ban on pet crates and the first of many to come,” the group’s president John Morgan said.
The organisation said the ban was “unnecessary, irrational and arbitrary”.
“We have been working for years on this issue, and it has now become a reality,” Mr Morgan said in a release.
“Pets are a big part of our culture and culture in the USA.
They are loved by millions of people.
The ban on dog crates is a dangerous step that will only hurt pets and those that need them most.”
Mr Morgan said he hoped the US would not be the first country to follow suit.
“We urge the President to immediately sign the ban,” he said.
“It will make a difference to the safety and welfare of dogs and cats in the United States and across the globe.”
In January, Mr Trump announced a travel ban that would extend from January 1, 2020, to October 31, 2019.
In response, Thailand, a country of about 2.2 million people, banned the import of pet crates, which are used for pet food, treats and other products.
Mr Morgan described the ban as “an outrage” and “unprecedented”.
“The first step is to get the ban on the books, but that requires action on the part of all governments,” he added.
“We need the ban to be implemented nationwide, with all other nations to follow.”
In February, Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced he would sign an executive decision restricting the importation of pet food products, including dog food, dog treats and toys.
“It’s important for us to get this done so that we can get the rest of the countries to follow us,” he told reporters.
“My message to all countries is to come up with some solution that allows us to protect the dogs and animals and to be more responsible.”
Pet owners in Thailand were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
In the statement, CBP said the restrictions would not apply to “federal, state or local government employees or employees of any US company”.
“These restrictions will be enforced by state and local authorities,” it added.
“Additionally, federal, state and municipal law enforcement officers will not be allowed to import any pet food or pet products.”ABC/wires