Skip to main content

Jupiterimages/Jupiterimages

Get pets off planes: Doctors' orders.

The Canadian Medical Association, at its annual meeting in St. John's, called on all commercial airlines to ban animals from cabins because their presence poses too great a risk to people with asthma and allergies. The only exception, the CMA said, should be service dogs that assist people who are visually impaired or have autism.

"It's a patient safety issue," said Mark Schonfeld, chief executive officer of the B.C. Medical Association. He said that takes precedence over the convenience of pet owners.

Story continues below advertisement

Bradley Fritz, a Vancouver physician, agreed, citing a personal example. On a recent flight, there was a small dog under his seat and his wife's asthma flared up so badly she needed treatment in the ER. "Pets should go in the pressurized cargo hold, not the passenger cabin," Dr. Fritz said.

There was not unanimity on the issue, however.

Merrilee Fullerton, a family physician in Kanata, Ont., said that while she has people with severe allergies in her family, she does not think the medical association should take a position on transport issues. "I don't believe it's our place," she said.

Dr. Fullerton also noted that allergens don't merely pose a risk to people on planes, and pets are far from the only issue. "What about trains and cabs? … If milk causes anaphylaxis [life-threatening allergy]what do we do about that?" she said.

Both Air Canada and WestJet, the country's biggest air carriers, allow small pets to travel in the cabin.



André Picard

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.