Advocate criticizes lack of focus on airline passengers needing comfort animals

An advocate for Canadians travellers says headlines about exotic emotional support animals at the airport distract from the rights of passengers with disabilities.

Stories about airlines turning away an emotional support peacock and a hamster have made news in recent weeks.

Passenger rights activist Gabor Lukacs says skeptics try to undermine the value of emotional support animals by pointing to sensational cases.

Lukacs says we should focus less on strange critters and more on the people with disabilities who truly need emotional support animals to fly comfortably.

He says Canadian airlines must accommodate emotional support animals or they run the risk of discriminating against passengers with disabilities.

Both Air Canada and WestJet require passengers with disabilities prove they need an emotional support animal before they board their flight.

Air Canada only allows emotional support dogs on their planes.

WestJet accepts a broader range of emotional support animals, including pigs, miniature horses and monkeys.