Airlines to ban pets next

By Randall W. Haveman, DVM, MS
Sunnyside Veterinary Hospital, PC
Happy Valley, Oregon

A editorial in the February issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, entitled “Pets in Airplane Cabins: An Unnecessary Allergic Hazard” criticized the decision of Air Canada to allow small pets such as cats, dogs and birds to travel in aircraft cabins.

. The article cites research that suggests one in ten people suffer an allergy to animals, the doctors behind the article believe that new legislation to protect passengers with severe peanut allergies should be extended by the Canadian Transport Agency to passengers with allergies to pets.

We likely will see this argument for American and perhaps International flights in the future.

In Oregon, we have Seeing Eye dogs, dogs that sense seizures in their owners, and Hearing Ear Dogs for deaf owners.  We are facing loosely defined “service animals”, too.  People with anxiety and social stress are demanding that dogs and a variety of animals that help them cope be allowed with them in public.  Some want to take their reptiles, , exotic birds, and monkeys on buses and in stores.

There must be a balance to protect the safety and health of the majority and still allow those with animal based needs to function in our communities.

Pet owners are often reluctant to allow pets to travel in the holds of aircraft which, although pressurized, may suffer temperature fluctuations and can be traumatic for pets. “Pet Airways” launched pet-only flights between five US cities in April 2009.

We’ll see where this all ends; it is a heads up for us to watch for change.

Randall W. Haveman, DVM, MS
Sunnyside Veterinary Hospital, PC
16416 SE Sunnyside Rd
Happy Valley, OR  97015

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