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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:20 pm 
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Just reminding everybody to pls. join the Lung Assn's campaign to get the gov't to act re airlines and pets.
You'll find the campaign at: http://www.lung.ca

We reported on the situation in this month's NewsReport, which you can open here - if you haven't seen: http://www.allergicliving.com/eletter_index.asp

There will be more in the Fall issue.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Reader Colin MacPhail of Edmonton asked us to share the letter he's sent to Air Canada and WestJet:


I implore you for your assistance.

As one of over 2.36-million Canadians who is very asthmatic and allergic to fur-bearing pets, I agree with the Lung Association of Alberta. I find it offensive that airlines permit customers' pets onboard as "carry-on luggage". I find it a greedy gesture by the airlines for the purpose of making money by appeasing those passengers with pets. This is at the expense of abusing the health of those with asthma and other breathing health issues.

The airlines explain that they will accommodate passengers who have allergies by moving them to another seating area. Unless that seating area is in the cockpit, that is ridiculous -- animal dander effects the whole confined airplane. The excuse that the plane's airflow is constantly changing shows poor knowledge of asthma, as it takes only a brief moment for an individual to suffer an asthmatic reaction.

This new policy is equal to feeding a peanut butter sandwich to an unknowing child with a peanut allergy. I applaud the airlines for recognizing now the risks involved in offering peanuts as snacks. The airlines have long ago banned smoking, recognizing it is a health hazard. Now it's time for the airlines to recognize that dogs, cats and other fur animals (except guide dogs, etc.) provide the same risk to many of its passengers It is not fair to please those customers with pets at the expense of the health of those who experience lung health issues.

I am an animal lover, and I've had dogs and cats throughout my life. Both my wife and I have volunteered with the SPCA (now the Edmonton Humane Society). Being animals lovers, I don't think it's fair to keep an animal confined in a small space for such a long time. An airplane is not a park where dogs and cats can roam freely, or "do their business". An airplane is a confined area where everyone - pets included - are restricted and can feel uncomfortable, especially for long distances.

However, if pets are to be permitted, I suggest they be restricted in a cargo area, separated from the passenger section.

I'd say if somebody wants to smoke, eat peanuts, and bring their pets, do so in the comfort of their own vehicle. But otherwise, keep off the plane.

WestJet and Air Canada, I know you're solid members of our communities ... but please don't make it harder for Canadians who suffer from lung difficulties more than they have to. It just doesn't make sense, right WestJet and Air Canada? Or does the financial gain indicate otherwise?

Colin MacPhail


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:40 pm 
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Update: As you know, The Lung Association (lung.ca) has been trying to get the gov't involved with hearings before the Standing Committee on Health. That's why letters in the Lung's letter-writing campaign are addressed to Joy Smith, chair of that committee.

Smith has started issuing this reply to letter-writers:

As the Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, I would like to thank you for contacting my office with your feedback concerning Air Canada’s recent decision to allow pets in the passenger cabins of their airplanes. Your feedback is very important to me.

In its new arrangements, Air Canada has determined to allow small dogs and cats to be placed in the passenger compartments of their aircrafts provided that they remain in a leak-proof carrier stored under the seat at all times. Allergy sufferers are to advise a check-in agent prior to departure to ensure that they are at a distance from travelling pets.
As the Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, I share your concerns for the effects of Air Canada’s decision on the health of those travellers with allergies. However, Air Canada’s decision to allow pets on its airplanes was an operational decision made by a private company at arm’s-length from the Government.

As with all other transportation issues, the Canadian Transportation Agency, an independent administrative tribunal, is available for Canadians who wish to voice concerns. They are available toll free at 1-888-222-2592.

Once again, thank you for contacting my office with regards to this issue. If you have further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (204) 984-6322.

Sincerely,

Joy Smith, MP
Kildonan – St. Paul

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:49 pm 
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But further to Joy Smith's reply, The Lung Association tells me they are as determined as ever to try to get gov't hearings. They need lots of support, so if you haven't sent a letter yet, pls. do so at http://www.lung.ca/petsonplanes

Below is the release the Lung Assn put out in reply to Smith's letter.
Lots more on pets/planes in AL's Fall issue - out in Sept.

Jul 30, 2009 15:27 ET
Health Chair's Stance on Pet-Free Flights Very Disappointing: Lung Association
Association commends MPs Joyce Murray and Judy Wasylycia-Leis for championing rights of people with lung disease to travel pet-free

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 30, 2009)
The Canadian Lung Association today expressed disappointment in federal Health Committee Chair Joy Smith's stance on the issue of Air Canada and WestJet's policy to allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin of airplanes. The Lung Association launched an online campaign for pet-free flights in July following the decision by Air Canada to join WestJet in offering pet-free flights, despite the serious risks it presents to passengers and crew with asthma, COPD and severe animal allergies.

In response to the thousands of letters sent to her office, Ms. Smith stated in a letter to Canadians contacting her that she "... shares the concerns for the effects of Air Canada's decision on the health of those travellers with allergies", but avoids committing to holding public hearings on the issue citing that Air Canada's decision is "...operational... made by a private company at arm's-length from the Government."

"As Chair of the Health Committee, Joy Smith has a mandate to act in the best interests of Canadians with lung disease who may be adversely affected by Air Canada -- and WestJet's - decision to allow pets to travel in the passenger cabins of airplanes," said Cameron Bishop, Director of Government Relations for The Lung Association, "Simply because a company makes an "operational" decision does not negate her or her Committee's responsibility to review that in a public health context".

The Lung Association took the opportunity to commend the leadership of Committee Vice-Chairs Judy Wasylycia-Leis (NDP-MB) and Joyce Murray (Lib-BC) for agreeing to bring the issue forward to the Health Committee in the fall.

"We urge Joy Smith to listen to the thousands of Canadians who have contacted her on this issue and to reconsider her stance", said Mr. Bishop, "People with asthma, COPD, lung cancer or other respiratory diseases should not be put at risk because of an airline's desire to put corporate needs in business class while public health is forced to ride in economy".

The Lung Association is extremely concerned about the health of airline passengers and crew who may suffer from severe allergies to pets (dander, fur, saliva, urine) or whose asthma (http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/as ... thme_e.php) or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)(http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/copd-mpoc_e.php) could be triggered by exposure to animal secretions or dander.

Air inside airplane cabins re-circulates - it gets recycled through the vents. Because airplane cabins are small spaces, it means that even a small amount of allergen, like the hair, saliva or dander of a pet, can spread quickly throughout the airplane cabin. The allergen in the air can reach every passenger on the plane, even people sitting far away from the pet. For people with allergies who have asthma (http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/as ... thme_e.php) or COPD (http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/copd-mpoc_e.php), pet allergens can trigger wheezing, coughing, and swelling in the airways - otherwise known as an asthma flare-up (asthma attack (http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/as ... thme_e.php)) or a COPD (http://www.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/copd-mpoc_e.php) flare-up. These reactions can be serious and even life-threatening.

The Association continues to encourage all Canadians to visit www.lung.ca/petsonplanes to send a message directly to federal Health Committee Chair Joy Smith (C-MB), calling for hearings to consider the public health implications of allowing pets to travel in the passenger cabins of airplanes.
[/b]

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Am not Canadian, but I travel to Canada a lot, and Air Canada has typically been my preferred carrier. So I just dropped them a little email to illustrate the extent of my allergies and to propose a solution. I totally empathise with folks who worry about their cat or dog in cargo, but I think the solution is to designate a small minority of flights as Pet-Friendly, and charge premiums for those flights. Honestly, if somebody needs their dog or cat with them THAT much, they should pay extra to be on a special flight--my lungs can't pay.

One thing that I didn't see addressed was: after the pet has been removed, what cleaning actions is the airline taking to ensure that the next passenger who occupies that area won't be exposed to dander. I can't even stay at my parents house in a room that has been kept pet free. (Actually last Thanksgiving, I went to stay with friends, and they'd cleaned their loft, and kept the pets out for weeks, and my boyfriend still had to call a Best Western as even with Zyrtec, I was wheezing well before going to bed.)

It drives me crazy that people seem to think the solution is keeping the animal at the other end of the cabin or for me to take more meds. Short of breaking out an epinephrine needle, I'm not sure what more I could do. Lots of my friends used to think I was overstating my own allergies until the first time I had to go to the emergency room because I couldn't breathe. My day to day meds keep basic stuff at bay, but exposure in the same room wears down the daily meds to an effective time of about two hours, and from that point, the graph of my symptoms moves asymptotically skyward.

Anyway, sent Air Canada the email. Hope my drop in the bucket will help them rethink or reshape the policy.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:28 am 
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Quote:
The Canadian Medical Association has endorsed a motion by doctors from Newfoundland and Labrador that urges the federal government to study whether small pets should be allowed in the passenger cabins of airplanes.

Air Canada is the most recent airline to allow people to keep their small cats and dogs near them when they're flying. WestJet also allows the practice.

The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, Dr. Brendan Lewis, brought his motion to the floor of the annual general meeting of the CMA in Saskatoon this week. He said he is worried that people with allergies may suffer from sitting near cats and dogs.

"Patients who are severely allergic to this type of thing," he said, "find that even if they're sitting a good distance away from where the animal is located, can still have some reaction. It's even more notable for patients, for example, if they have allergic rhinitis or asthma which is brought on by animal dander."

Lewis said the House of Commons standing committee on health is the best body to study the issue to decide if there should be regulations about domestic animals on board airplanes.

The Canadian Lung Association has also been urging Ottawa to put a stop to pets travelling in airplane cabins.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-l ... s-820.html

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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