Anti-Empire

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On the other hand, would you deny people with pets the ability to travel by plan? Does owning a pet require either submitting it to significant physical risk in a cargo hold, or spending many more hours travelling by car or train?

There are competing interests involved here. Simply pointing to sick children isn't a trump. What the airlines should be doing is letting people with severe allergies know when there will be a pet on the plane, and giving them the option (without charge) of changing their booking. That would seem to accommodate everyone. Another option would be to only allow pets on certain flights on any given route, so that those with allergies could be guaranteed some flights would not contain pets in the flight cabin.

I don't disagree with the notion of barring animals from the cabins of planes. This should definitely be enacted because people with severe allergies can die, and it is also a notion of trumping their rights to life. I am just concerned with the direction of the protest. Based on what is presented here, the protest is against other individuals that participate in a certain structure, namely the monopoly of the airline industry. Although it would appear that the attack is aimed at the airline industry, the real outcome is an attack against individuals (whether it be people with disabilities or pet owners). In order to fly, pet owners must place their animals in a very unsafe position below the plane (in the cargo hold). The powers at be argue that the cargo hold is safe, when it is far from safe! Thus, pet owners must comply with the structures imposed by the airline industry. Given their lack of options, it is no surprise that we now see airlines allowing pets in the cabins. There are far great numbers of pet owners who will spend money on flights than people with disabilities flying (hence the profit argument posted above). Wouldn't it be more productive for allergy advocates and pet owners to combine efforts to try and change the actual structure rather than attacking each other? Wouldn't it be wiser to ensure safety of animals below deck and safety of people with disabilities above deck? I only see the protest above shifting the effects of the structure back and forth, pets in the cabin, pets not allowed, pets in the cabin, pets not allowed, which only leads to scapegoats and slander!

I realize that there are a lot of good reasons not to own a pet - they're bad for the environment, they soak up disposable income that could be going towards something productive for humanity and the ethics of keeping an animal in captivity are dubious. Nevertheless, for some people, pets are an absolute lifeline. They represent a way to practice care and bonding, to develop empathy, can sub in for loads of therapy, and may be the one thing standing between a person and total psychological breakdown. If a pet owner needs to travel or move, they sometimes need to take their pet with them - for those reasons, or because they simply can't afford to pay for care to leave them behind. Cargo holds are not safe, and some airlines require sedation that small animals or individual larger pets can't handle. I think pet owners have a right to travel with their pets in the cabin when possible.

I've seen airlines handle this situation - a cat and a highly allergic person - by offering crazy credits and deals to whoever is willing to wait for the next flight. Not an ideal solution or a permanent one (I assume even a pet in a carrier can leave dander behind), but evidence that a pet in the cabin is not a death sentence. I agree that ideally, a reserved flight for pets would be great, although for a lot of the low-traffic routes that Westjet flies it wouldn't be practical. I don't have an answer for how to guarantee the rights of both parties in that situation, although obviously the person who's going to suffocate stuck in a metal tube with a dog can't compromise with regard to their needs and many pet owners will have more flexibility.

Absolutely, human needs first, and human health needs first of all - but some humans need pets, and the fact that it's not a biological need shouldn't mean they're completely barred from air travel.

Man, my comment doesn't even address the core issue of this blog post.
No, pets shouldn't be allowed in cabins BEFORE safety measures for them and for those with allergies are in place. That's crazy. If I have to eat hideous, awful pretzels on a flight because of those with nut allergies, I don't blame people with allergies or advocate for peanuts: I blame the processed food industry for putting peanuts in everything, the institution of American racism for forcing GW Carver to come up with so many uses for peanuts to survive, and whoever invented pretzels. And I congratulate the airline for keeping passengers safe. This change is obviously a step back for airline safety. As a person with some (mild) scent sensitivities I definitely wish we could ban colognes and perfumes on board - and as much as I would do anything possible to keep my cats out of the cargo hold, I wouldn't force someone allergic - or even afraid/averse - to fly with them, either.

I would gladly pay an additional tax to contribute to safe spaces for pets on planes.

I understand the arguments around the value of pets. In fact, I have a picture hanging in my kitchen of me at two years of age with the next door neighbor's little pug which was taken moments before my first serious asthma/allergy attack. Ironically, the little guy's name was 'Jinx.'

But, pets in cabins should not be an interim solution. What people may not understand is the traces of dander could set off a fatal allergy attack. What if a two year old has her first serious allergy attack on a plane and not with an encounter in front of her home. I am certain that we will see a fatality if this policy is not reversed.

The title of my post is highly rhetorical...I love animals and would love to be able to have a pet...And, again, I would be ready to contribute to developing safe places on planes for pets. I am afraid, however, that the public's lack of understanding of serious allergies could have very serious consequences.

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