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December 8, 2020
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If Biden becomes President, this may be the last bit of sanity you hear out of Washington for quite a while, so savor it: the Department of Transportation announced that airlines are not required to treat “emotional support animals” as service animals and may treat them as pets and require them to travel in carriers in the cargo section.

This follows a rash of stories about people bringing wildly inappropriate animals onto airlines, claiming they needed them to stay calm, while the passengers around them were expected to stay calm while seated next to a frightened or agitated horse, pig, kangaroo or, famously, an emotional support peacock.

While I’m happy to hear that I’ll no longer have to worry about someone’s emotional support ostrich snatching my airline meal, there are a couple of issues that do need to be ironed out. Trained service dogs for the disabled will still be allowed, but with no national licensing or registration system to identify them, that loophole may still be open to abuse.

And mark your calendars for a momentous day because I’m actually about to agree with PETA on something. In opposing the new restrictions, PETA protested that it’s cruel to put animals into airline cargo holds, where they have died due to shifting loads falling on them, unpressurized cabins, long delays and freezing temperatures. That’s definitely something that needs to be addressed.

But it should be solved by the airlines creating safe conditions for traveling pets, not by letting live sheep travel in Business Class.

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