I saw an article about emotional support animals on BBC online.
A female traveller was recently banned from taking a large “emotional-support peacock” on board a United Airlines flight, it has emerged.
A woman was trying to fly, with her peacock, from Newark, N.J. to Los Angeles. She was willing to buy the bird a ticket but the airline insisted it did not meet size and weight restriction.
Can you imagine sharing the aisle?
Airlines have allowed some passengers with emotional or psychiatric problems to take therapy animals on board with them.
But the number of emotional support animals has been rising in recent years, sparking suggestions that people are abusing the system.
In 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when her pig, named Hobie, defecated and squealed before the plane took off.
I had noticed on the flight to Florida this last time that dogs wearing support animal bibs were everywhere — a huge increase from anything I had seen before. There are dogs at restaurants everywhere now and shopping in all the stores.
I fully endorse service dogs. Emotional support animals? I will have to think about that. I know that I, personally, would find it more stressful to have to worry about a pet while traveling and that is the main reason why I don’t have one.
Pigs, and peacocks and squirrels ? Well sometimes the animal chooses, not the other way around. However, I do think that is an awful lot of tolerance to expect of fellow travelers — even beyond the ban on peanuts because of food allergies but never mind someone’s allergy to pet dander or dread fear of rodents or snakes argument.
So if the apparent increase in emotional support animals is indicative of people’s emotional and psychiatric problems, it seems we are in a mental health crisis. I wonder if it means we have to pour more effort and money into awareness and services?
Or is it more likely to be shown that the wisdom of animals is more effective than therapy?