Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s). America finally sees sense.

America has finally banned the carriage of Emotional Support Animals in aircraft cabins following abuse of the system and taking exotic animals on board.

Finally, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) took action in December 2020 to amend the Air Carrier Act and stop the carriage of Emotional Support Animals in aircraft cabin. It is now restricted to proven trained service dogs only which have been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability”. Under the new rules, animals such as pigs, ponies, turkeys, snakes and possums and other exotic animals will rightly be designated as pets and must be paid for and travel in the holds.

US airlines can now refuse animals.

Airlines now have the leverage to refuse to take such animals and it is not surprising that within weeks virtually every US airline immediately banned ESA’s. Alaskan airlines were the first quickly followed by United, American and Delta. United airlines have stated that “the change will further ensure a safe and accessible travel experience for our customers”. Well any sane person can understand that, but there has still been an outcry from individuals insisting they need a cockerel or a peacock or crocodile or whatever to steady their nerves.

Emotional Support Animals ESA

I wrote an article a year ago on the farce of so-called Emotional Support animals in America varying from ponies to possums being allowed in the cabins of aircraft to ease the flying worries of their owners. In most instances it was more a case of attention seeking or a chance to outdo each other with photographs and video on social media. For some it was a chance for their pets to travel free. Agencies suddenly sprang up to provide dubious accreditation for the animals and also online sites offering fraudulent certificates.

U.K. airlines do not allow pets in cabin.

UK airlines sensibly have never allowed or been able to take alleged ESAs in the cabin as they have no legal status, but organisations have been established to lobby for such animals to be accepted as legitimate which would allow them into restaurants and other restricted areas like a guide dog. One is the UK Emotional Support Animal Registry established in 2017 who may now have to amend their plans. As in America there are apparently scams regarding registering animals in the U.K.

The number of ESA’s carried on aircraft in the USA jumped from 481,000 in 2016 to 751,000 in 2017 and a 14% increase in 2018. And there has been a sharp increase in “negative incidents” caused by animals and we can imagine what these were. Strangely many cabin crew appeared to welcome these animal passengers.

The airlines quite rightly have been arguing about the stupidity of the situation for a long time and pointed out all the health and safety issues involved to both cabin crew and other passengers, but it had fallen on mainly deaf ears until now. The Airlines for America lobbying organisation has been pushing for the change for over a year. The question is what took so long?

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Japanese Whaling Fleet Returns in Triumph With 223 Whales

The Japanese whaling fleet triumphantly returned this month (June 2020) from its first three month commercial hunt, with almost a full quota of 223 whales caught, amounting to 1,430 tons of frozen meat which costs $140 per kilo to buy. Bolstered by the success the Japanese government wants to spend $48 million to support more hunts even though the eating of whale meat is not as popular.

The ban on commercial whaling is just a gentleman’s agreement.

Japan announced its decision to begin whaling again after 31 years on the 1st. July, 2019 causing  worldwide outrage, because most people were under the misapprehension that whaling had been made illegal. But tragically the so called moratorium was only ever a gentleman’s agreement and a trade bargain which any country could withdraw from at any time if they followed the withdrawal procedure under the Convention.

Why did Japan do it? Well they never really stopped and used the loophole that all countries have of catching whales under the umbrella of “scientific purposes”. Japan also allegedly caught more than its allowed quota of Minke whales for years and tried to persuade member countries to help overturn the moratorium by supporting a vote on their proposal of “small type commercial whaling” (STCW) using small whaling ships in territorial waters. When this didn’t happen they decided to go their own way and hunt in their own waters.

Whaling, illegal whaling, IWC,Commercial whaling ban,whaling moratorium

Any member country of the Convention can just opt out

In 1946 the  Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was signed by the major whaling nations when it was realised that whales were in imminent danger of becoming extinct, but it was done to“provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry in the future not for the benefit of the whales.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the  Convention and the members meet every two years to decide which species can be hunted, how many and by who and various other policy issues. Any country can join regardless of whether they want to hunt whales or not and each member has voting rights.

The right to withdraw

Article XI of the Convention allows any member Government to withdraw from the agreement on the 30th. June of any year by giving notice before the 1st. January of the same year. Although not morally responsible it is legal. There was a worry that other countries would follow Japan’s lead and pull out, but thankfully this does not appear to be happening at the moment.

Many countries claim an exemption and receive a quota for their “aboriginal” inhabitants to hunt small numbers of small whales for their own needs, but many of these now want to increase their hunting to sell the by-products. Countries which presently hunt whales in one form or another are Japan, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Russia, USA, St. Vincent and Grenadines, South Korea and Greenland.

Unfortunately it would be foolish to believe that the future of the planet’s whales is totally safeguarded.