Emotional support animals in flight
This show begins with news about the Department of Transportation’s decision to ban emotional support animals from airliners. Also new is that for registered service animals, only dogs will be permitted to fly. Service animals are specifically trained to assist people with disabilities such as visual impairment, mobility limitations or a propensity to have seizures. Emotional support animals provide companionship, alleviate anxiety, etc., but do not have special training to assist their owners with specific disabilities.
Many fliers and industry officials have voiced opposition to the growing numbers of emotional service animals of various species that have been permitted to fly, which can impinge upon the rights of other passengers. Biting incidents and untimely elimination requiring clean-ups happen too often. And, false claims of pets as emotional service animals seem to be common.
Lori also raises concerns about a likely consequence of this change, increased numbers of people having their animals fly with cargo, and she gives examples to show how this is very risky to the health and well-being of the animals. Also, in 2018, Delta banned pit bull type dogs from their flights, even if registered service animals, and gives no indication of changing this policy. Lori explains the many problems with breed discrimination.
We continue with Peta’s Ingrid Newkirk publicly criticizing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for apparently purchasing a French Bulldog instead of adopting. We also learn about some politicians who have adopted including President elect Joe Biden (2 adopted rescued German shepherds) Pete Buttigieg, John Hickenlooper and Vice President Pence.
Operation Baghdad Pups And SPCAI
Next up is Meredith Ayan, Executive Director of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International (SPCA International). This organization supports shelters around the globe, aids disaster and relief efforts with grants, makes grants to help shelters when they take in large numbers of animals, provides veterinary supplies, and more
The main discussion between Lori and Meredith centered on Operation Baghdad Pups, a worldwide campaign to help active duty soldiers in war zones who have befriended animals, to get the dogs and cats back home to the US. Operating since 2008, almost 1100 animals have been rescued and brought home. As you might expect, the logistics are complicated and the expenses are high! But a highlight came recently when (along with partner Puppy Rescue Mission), 47 animals were flown out of war zones to New York’s JFK International Airport for new lives in safety. Bravo! Visit SPCAI.org.
We conclude with a little pop quiz about koalas. These marsupial mammals subsist exclusively on eucalyptus leaves, and their newborns, called joeys, are less than one inch long as they enter mom’s pouch for the next stage of development.