During a time when emotional support animals are needed more than ever, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that it is revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air to ensure a safe and accessible air transportation system.
Under the new rule, airlines will now recognize emotional support animals as pets, rather than service animals.
As per the DOT, the Traveling by Air with Service Animals final rule “defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”
Much to the dismay of people worldwide who rely on their emotional support dogs, the DOC claims that they are no longer recognized as service animals “because providing emotional support, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks.” Ridiculous.
The ruling also means that airlines are no longer required to accommodate other service animals, such as: miniature horses, cats or rabbits.
The rule continues to allow airlines to limit the number of service animals to two per a single passenger traveling with a disability. Airlines can require that service animals be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times in the airport and on the aircraft. When onboard the plane, the service animal must fit within its handler’s foot space. Airlines may also still refuse transportation to service animals that exhibit aggressive behavior or that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
The Department reportedly received more than 15,000 comments on the notice of the plan. The final rule announced today addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircrafts.
The final rule will be effective 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about this final rule, can be found, HERE.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post The U.S. Department of Transportation Enacts New Rule Stating That Airlines Will No Longer Be Required To Transport Emotional Support Animals appeared first on World Animal News.
Earlier this week, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) sent letters to local, state, and federal agencies urging them to immediately investigate after a Goshen-based traveling circus publicly acknowledged that its unable to provide basic care for Minnie, the elephant in its custody, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We were extremely worried about Minnie well before the COVID-19 crisis and are even more so now,” Courtney Fern, the NhRP’s Director of Government Relations and Campaigns, said in a statement.
For over two years, the NhRP has been fighting in court and alongside local activists to free Minnie, a 48-year-old wild-born Asian elephant, to one of the two accredited elephant sanctuaries in the United States; both of which have offered her lifelong care at no cost to the Commerford Zoo. Recently, the NhRP learned of an online fundraiser set up by the family that sold Minnie (whom they call Mignon) to the Commerford Zoo in 1976.
With the authorization of the Commerford Zoo, the GoFundMe page seeks to raise $2.4 million to enable them to meet Minnie’s most basic needs, including food and veterinary care due to COVID-19, which has “impoverished the farm that supports them,” and is “in desperate need of support,” according to the description of the fundraiser. Created over a month ago, the fundraiser has only raised $1,405 so far.
“We understand the Commerford Zoo is in dire straights,” continued Fern. “For their sake and the sake of the many animals at their facility, they need to let Minnie go to a sanctuary. It is abhorrent for them not to do so immediately.”
The NhRP has repeatedly offered to drop its litigation against the Commerford Zoo—originally brought on behalf of Minnie and two elephants, Beulah and Karen, who have since died—if they agreed to release Minnie to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES) or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary (PAWS). Both facilities are vastly larger than the Commerford Zoo’s property and specially designed to meet elephants’ complex needs. The Commerford Zoo has ignored these offers.
The NhRP finds this fundraiser especially disappointing and egregious because the organizers and the Commerford Zoo are aware that Minnie has a place waiting for her in a sanctuary, and it would not cost them anything to do the right thing and release her.
Minnie is controlled by a bullhook, confined most of the time to a dark, barren barn, and lacks the company of other elephants.
Beulah and Karen both died in 2019, leaving Minnie the sole surviving elephant in the custody of the Commerford Zoo. As confirmed by the USDA in response to an inquiry from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) after Beulah collapsed in public at the Big E fair, Beulah died as a result of blood poisoning caused by a uterine infection that the Commerford Zoo was aware that she had when they transported her to the venue, and sadly Karen died of kidney disease.
Founded in Goshen, Connecticut, by Robert “Bob” W. Commerford, the Commerford Zoo (also known as R.W. Commerford & Sons (and or) the Kids Fun Fair & Zoo) owns Minnie the elephant, as well as: camels, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys, pygmy horses, ringtail lemurs, macaws, a kangaroo, and a zebra, among other animals. The USDA has cited the Commerford Zoo more than 50 times for failing to adhere to the minimum standards required by the Animal Welfare Act.
The NhRP is considering its next steps in its elephant rights litigation on Minnie’s behalf after the Connecticut Supreme Court declined to hear her case. The grassroots campaign to free Minnie to an accredited sanctuary has gained the support of Senator Blumenthal, Connecticut State Representative David Michel, Representative Anne Hughes, and other lawmakers. The NhRP will continue to fight for as long as it takes for Minnie’s release to a sanctuary where her right to liberty will be respected.
The post Nonhuman Rights Project Urges For An Elephant Named Minnie To Be Released To A Sanctuary After Claims That The Commerford Zoo Can No Longer Afford To Take Care Of Her appeared first on World Animal News.