The Canadian Transportation Agency is now reviewing whether pets should be banned from aeroplane cabins, an idea that is wholeheartedly endorsed by the Canadian Medical Journal (CMJ). In an editorial on Tuesday, the CMJ points out that one in 10 people are allergic to animals, and reactions such as anaphylaxis or asthma can be serious under the best circumstances, let alone somewhere such as an aeroplane that lacks emergency medical care.
“The preferences of pet owners should not supersede the well-being of their fellow passengers,” states the editorial. “Pets can be accommodated comfortably and safely in airplane cargo holds, which is where they belong. Airlines must choose to put the needs of their human passengers first, or be forced to do so.”
Voluntary actions such as seating affected passengers away from pets is not an option, the CMJ believes, because pet dander remains long after an animal has left, and airlines are too often filled to capacity to allow for last-minute seat changes. One New Zealand study the CMJ cites found “relevant concentrations of cat allergen on 100% of sampled airplane seats on domestic flights and 16% of seats on international flights.”
Pets aren't service animals, of course, la la la, and service animals should always be allowed on planes. I'm fine with service animals for people who are, say, blind or have Parkinson's disease. But I'm not fine with defining service animal down—and disability down—to a point where people pleading anxiety are allowed to take wolves on airplanes. Anxiety plagued? Take a Xanax or drive. I'm an anxious flyer too—and, hey, masturbation has always relieved my anxiety, so I'm sure no one will mind if I just... ah... that's better.