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As an academic physician and a pilot, I was outraged by this editorial.1 The unsupported statement “Pets can be accommodated comfortably and safely in airplane cargo holds, which is where they belong” got my dander up. A cursory Internet search brought up documented accounts of hundreds of companion animals that have perished in cargo holds. Cargo holds are usually not heated, air conditioned or pressurized and often are unventilated in order to reduce fire hazard. People do need to sometimes travel with pets and it is wrong to send the pets to the cargo hold. Most (not all) pet allergies are due to direct contact, not proximity to pets, which can be minimized by keeping the pets in travel cages. Are you next going to suggest banning people who might have pet hair or dander on their clothes from flights because of the theoretical possibility that they may also cause allergies in the susceptible? The evidence is about the same.
For the full letter, go to: www.cmaj.ca/cgi/eletters/182/5/421#334758