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UK okays pets with people on flights

Air travellers in Britain might soon find pot-bellied pigs, miniature horses and monkeys travelling as their co-passengers, as authorities have now allowed travellers to take exotic pets along for "emotional support".

world Updated: Jul 10, 2012 23:57 IST

Air travellers in Britain might soon find pot-bellied pigs, miniature horses and monkeys travelling as their co-passengers, as authorities have now allowed travellers to take exotic pets along for "emotional support".

According to the new Department of Transportation rules, animals should be allowed on flights if they are used for "emotional support" by their owners.

However, transportation officers would have to determine whether the animal is permitted on the plane by running through a list of guidelines which are part of a draft manual on equality for disabled people travelling on passenger planes.

The department manual states gives guidelines to determine if they are service animals. Miniature horses can help visually-impaired passengers.

According to the new guidelines airline employees should enquire about how the animal aids the passenger and what training it has had. If the employee has doubts that the animal is a service animal, they can ask for further verification or call a Complaints Resolution Official, the ruling says.

Service animals help perform some of the tasks that people with a disability have difficulty with or cannot perform for themselves.

For instance pot-bellied pigs, which can weigh upto 300 lbs, are favoured service animals for people allergic to dogs.

"They seem to have a sense if the owner is not feeling well to stay by them," said Wendy Ponzo, from the North American Potbellied Pig Association.