This issue has raised controversy on my Facebook page, so I thought I'd bring it to the blog.
As reported by the Edmonton Sun, Canada's two major airlines are now allowing pets in the cabins of planes which likely will eliminate air travel as an option for people with severe allergies and other health issues:
The Scarborough, Ont., mom, whose 16-year-old daughter Gillian also suffers from asthma, is looking at booking a trip to Vancouver this summer but her asthma and severe allergy to felines means she is too scared to book with WestJet or Air Canada.
"Within minutes, my chest will tighten up and I find it difficult to breathe," said Petcoff, 47, describing what happens if she happens to be anywhere near a cat or even a cat owner with cat dander on their clothes.
Air Canada recently announced it would allow pets in the cabin areas of flights.
The policy took effect on Canada Day. WestJet also allows pets in cabins.
The pet-friendly airlines have allergy sufferers like Petcoff shaking their heads and health advocacy groups like the Canadian Lung Association stepping up their public relations battle against the pets-on-board policies.
Yesterday the Canadian Lung Association launched its online campaign to get the airlines to reconsider allowing pets in the cabins.
The association is calling on Canadians to pressure Parliament to take action and rule that pets should only be allowed to be transported in heated, pressurized luggage compartments of planes.
According to the association, airline passengers who suffer from severe allergies to pets, asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease would be at risk of having their attacks triggered by pets in the passenger cabins.
"Profit is taking a front seat and public health is taking a back seat," said spokesman Cameron Bishop.
"From our perspective you don't have to trade one off for the other."
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzgerald said many airlines around the world allow pets in cabins and Air Canada will do whatever it can to accommodate passengers with allergies.
When I was a little kid, I had to miss almost every birthday party because my friends had pets. The couple of times that my parents gave in, I ended up in the hospital for weeks. Still, I got to see Disneyland and later the countries that my parents came from.
I have had my chance to see parts of the world, but there are so many sick kids out there who will not be able to travel by air if pets are allowed in cabins. Do these kids who regularly go for allergy shots, blood infusions, and other rough treatments not deserve a nice trip?
Would you deny a sick kid a trip to Disneyland?!
Please send an email prepared by The Canadian Lung Association asking the federal government to disallow pets on planes.