Bacon on the side please

Have you ever travelled on a flight next to a pig?  Now come on – I don’t mean that person who picked their nose the whole way from Calgary to Toronto.  I am talking about a real live pig.  Yes – on a plane.

Rachel Boerner, 29, travels with a pig who is an “emotional support” animal.   Apparently the pig was very disruptive, squealing, pooing and peeing which clearing irritated the other passengers and the crew.  It seems Ms Boerner was also irritated and kept calling the pig a “jerk” for not listening.

Now before we get into the why’s and wherefore’s of taking a pig on a flight what is the justification for having a pig as an emotional support animal?  Is this just a ploy to take a pet anywhere you like.  What’s next?   According to Mail Online –
“In 2012 it was revealed that the Department of Transportation had certain guidelines allowing animals, including pot-bellied pigs, could be taken on flights. Along with monkeys and miniature horses, they could be designated as ‘Emotional Support’.

Monkeys and miniature horses…???  Yes….

or this…

Now don’t get me wrong – I am totally in favour of support animals but I think some people take advantage of this by claiming that an animal is an emotional support animal when it is really a pet (and of course a very loved pet – but a pet all the same).   Wikipedia definition –

“An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of the disability, to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support animals are typically dogs and cats, but may include other animals. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal by a physician or other medical professional, the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. ”

So what are your thoughts?  Are you OK with sitting next to a pig on your next flight?

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

1 comment

  1. I think that I wouldn’t mind but people need to be considerate of other passengers. I have anxiety and would love to have one of my pets travel with me at all times to ease that ache. I cry on planes all the time because I am terrified. Although, I think a min horse/large pig is a little excessive. Take a boat instead. My cousin on the other hand, she just got approved to have a Sugar Glider as an ESA to combat her severe anxiety/depression. Sometimes animals are the only SPECIES that know when you are truly hurting.


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