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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Animal Rights on Passenger Flights?

Lately it seems the issue of Animal Rights has come up in my life. Personally, I don't think animals have any rights. They pretty much have the right to be a human's property, just like a weekender bag or a scarf. They also have the right to try out my make-up before it touches my skin.

One fairly big pet peeve of mine is the way animal owners/lovers handle their pets. Pets are just that, yet somehow pet owners seem to be under the impression that they have been elevated to "person" status... sleeping in the same bed as you, walking on top of the dinner table, putting their paws on guests' shirts when greeting them. Unacceptable. Animals aren't children. Civilized people shouldn't have to endure animals' torturous behaviors simply because it's not ethically or socially acceptable -- we reserve that level of tolerance for our offspring.

It came to my attention recently that pets are now allowed to fly on airplanes. Now, I assume that pets could always fly on airplanes, but now certain pets are able to fly in the passenger cabin with you. The pet must be a domestic animal and kept in one of those travelling cages and must be able to fit under the passenger's chair. I'm not sure if the passenger has to pay more to bring his/her pet along, but I would hope so. In any case, the passenger isn't paying the equivalent of an extra seat for the pet.

Given the fact that a number of people are allergic to cats and dogs, what happens if these things are on the same flight as you? Well, in one American Airlines flight that my parents were on, the passengers were asked if anyone was allergic to cats as one was on board. My mother is allergic to cats, so she mentioned that. The stewardess proceeded to suggest that my mother move to a seat at the back of the plane. I'm sorry, but how is that a viable solution? The passenger cabin is full of recycled air... air that will ultimately be full of cat dander, which people are allergic to. How does sitting in the back help the situation?

After my father asked that the cat be moved instead of the people, the stewardess declined, suggesting that my parents take a later flight if the cat will bother them. What kind of shit is that?! Because of post-9/11 paranoia, stewardesses can now remove someone from a flight. I guess my dad was really trying to be on that flight because ultimately he just grinned and beared it.

What kind of society do we live in where a cat in a box has more rights than a person?? Can someone help me understand that, because I'm at a loss. If it were me, I would have walked over and explained to the owners and the stewardess what was going to happen -- the cat will go straight into the cargo hold with the rest of the luggage; if the owners don't like it then they can take the next flight; and if the stewardess has a problem with it, we can discuss it tomorrow while she's standing in the unemployment line; and I'd like my peanuts and beverage once I return to my seat.

I stumbled upon this article about airline operating procedures for 'celebrity pets', like the stupid dog on Fraiser or maybe the monkey from Friends. It's bananas!

In a head-to-head competition, who would have more rights on a plane, an animal or a muslim? I assume the stewardess would as the "potential terrorist" to leave the plane sooner than the cat. What about an animal vs. an obese person? The obese person may have to buy an extra seat, but is the pet charged that much more? Or is it treated as a carry-on? If that's the case then it's luggage, which can go into the cargo area.

Don't get me wrong, animals are cute and i'm sure they make worthwhile companions, but at the end of the day they're just pets and should be treated as such. PETA can come knocking on my door if they've got a problem with that, but I'm sure if I asked one of them to give up their life to save a rat's life they'd pause to think about it, then say "fuck it, kill the rat". And if not, then hey -- that's one less crazy PETA person to deal with, so bring on the rats!


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