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Unbelievable news: Horses may board an aircraft with humans

by Maria Filimonenko
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The U.S. Department of Transportation has mandated that special consideration will be given to three species of animals on flights. Dogs, cats and horses. More precisely: miniature horses. This sounds strange, but there are a number of reasons for it.

In the States, everything is always a little bigger than we’re used to over here. The highways, the prairie, the ambience – and the animals that are allowed in the passenger cabin of airplanes.

Lufthansa, for example, only allows cats and dogs in the cabin that fit into boxes measuring no more than 55x40x23 centimeters. The boxes must not exceed a total weight of 8 kilograms. A miniature American horse would not fit in there. But on a U.S. flight, it could easily happen that a representative of the breed is standing next to you.

American Miniature Horse

American Miniature Horses are smaller than ponies and may reach a maximum withers height of 34 inches (86.34 centimeters). They easily weigh 70 kilograms or more. The mini-horses were once bred for the amusement of European aristocrats. Today, they are used in the U.S. as “service animals” or “emotional support animals,” i.e., companion animals for people who need assistance – in whatever form. For the blind, for example, they can serve instead of an assistance dog

As reported by the New York Times, the U.S. Department of Transportation has now decided that horses of this breed must be considered by airlines on U.S. domestic flights – just like dogs or cats.

Flying with miniature horse

Requirement: They are approved assistance animals – i.e. animals that are used as a therapeutic measure. The tweet above shows what that might look like in reality. The picture was taken as early as 2004 and recirculated most recently in connection with reporting about flying mini-horses.

Anyone wishing to travel with their odd-hoofed “service animal” should let the airline know in advance. Often, passengers and mini-horses are then placed on seats that have a little more legroom, as one blind woman described to the New York Times. She has flown several times with her horse “Cali”. Among other functions, she says, Cali is trained to do its business in a plastic bag. At the airport, she asks someone to take her to the ladies’ room. There, Cali relieves herself in the bag on command. She then flushes the contents down the toilet.

Rules regarding assistance animals

In the USA, the number of assistance animals has increased significantly in recent years. Owners have to prove with a doctor’s or therapist’s certificate that they really need their animal for physical or emotional support. Most of the time, these are dogs, but very inventive pet owners have also tried to claim insects or reptiles as assistance animals.

How serious the certification is in individual cases cannot always be clearly verified. Owners of regular pets sometimes use the regulations for assistance animals to carry their animals in situations where they would otherwise not be allowed.

Source: WELT

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