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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Killing wild animals by our crass behaviour

We are killing wild animals by our crass behaviour and because of our ignorance of how to act around them.

Too many people are ignorant of how to act around wild animals.

We are killing and stressing wild animals by our crass behaviour and ignorance of how to act around them. We cannot resist our fascination with getting close to wild animals regardless of the consequences to the animals concerned.

On beaches near where I live there are colonies of seals and recently in the space of three days one seal pup which wasn’t weaned and too young to have a waterproof coat, was chased into the water by two young children where it drowned while the children’s mother watched proudly on.

Another was abandoned by its mother when it was surrounded by a crowd of noisy onlookers taking selfies. A third was attacked and killed by an unleashed dog whose owner either didn’t care or was unable to control the dog properly off a lead.

white and black seal on shoreline
Photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy on Pexels.com

Every year this happens because they have become an “attraction” and inconsiderate visitors ignore warning signs and the voluntary beach wardens who advice people not to go close to the seals or try to move people on that have.

Criminal offence to cause the death of a wild animal.

Few if any people are aware or care that it is a criminal offence in the UK to cause the death of a protected species, not that many will even know what a protected species is.

Sadly, it is not just wild animals. I once watched two young children chasing ewes around a farmers field while their parents encouraged them finding it amusing. I had to intervene pointing out that if their children were dogs they could have been shot. Children have a natural impulse to either chase after or throw something at any animals they come across whether it is seagulls on the beach or ducks and pigeons in the park and unless guided by their parents that this unacceptable behaviour and explain why, their children will never see the harm in it. But the problem is that many parents have little understanding themselves.

Dog owners to blame also.

Dog owners are just as much to blame as well and many are happy to see their beloved dogs having fun chasing after any animal that moves and destroying habitat. I was once engrossed looking into pond in a nature reserve full of pondlife when two Labradors plunged in and turned it into a mud bath. The owner was not concerned in the least. Chasing animals or disturbing them appears to be a recreational sport to some and yet they would probably object to hare coursing or sheep worrying.

Tourists on a beach manhandling a dolphin

This human intervention as it is often called, or ignorant and crass behaviour, is a worldwide problem. The smiles on the faces of the holidaymakers on the beach and these on a Costa Rican turtle egg laying beach are more proof of this behaviour. Some of the adults and their children were witnessed posing and riding on their backs.

Disturbing nesting turtles

The problems arise when the animals cannot escape or are forced to abandon their dependents. No wonder most wildlife runs for the hills when they see humans approaching. Meanwhile back at the seal colony in Norfolk they are building a 1.2 km. fence at considerable cost to protect the seals from us and our pets.

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