Southwest nixes peanuts, okays horses … say, what?

Is the world getting crazier by the day or is it just my imagination?

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OK, I understand the peanut part.

I’ve seen allergic reactions to peanuts … not pretty … and potentially a big health risk.

I also accept that ingestion isn’t always required to trigger a reaction … for some people, just touching or smelling a peanut can set off a threatening reaction.

But, let’s put the dastardly peanut in context…

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According to the Peanut Institute:

About 1% of people have a peanut allergy, which can vary from mild to severe.

About 4 times as many people are allergic to seafood than to peanuts.

Of course, SWA doesn’t serve seafood, so that’s not an issue for them.

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Here’ are a couple of more contextual stats:

  • 10% percent of people are allergic to household pets
  • Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies,
  • About 1 in 7 children between ages 6 and 19 are allergic to cats.

Technical note:

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not cat fur that causes those itchy, watery eyes.

Most people with cat allergies react to a protein found on cat skin that goes airborne, lingers for hours and gets breathed.  Source

Though the allergic risk is 10 times higher for pets (than peanuts) … SWA is required to “accommodate” service animals under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Much has been reported recently about folks abusing that provision (e.g. the viral clip of the “comfort” peacock being brought aboard a flight).

Note: Peanuts are not provided the same rights under the law.

OK, I get that SWA has no choice but to let Fido and Fluffy board the plane.

But, SWA’s recently announced policy extends the service pet policy to cover miniature horses.

Are you kidding me?

Suffice to say that I’d be very disappointed if a horse gets plopped down in the seat next to me.

My question: Why don’t the owners just bag flying and ride the horse wherever they’re going?

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