Allow Hedgehogs to Travel in Airplane Cabins
We are petitioning that WestJet and other applicable airlines allow the transport of hedgehogs in the cabins of commercial airplanes. WestJet policy on transporting animals by plane states that hedgehogs are allowed to travel in cargo only, NOT in the cabin. Animals that are allowed to travel in the cabin are limited to: dogs, cats, rabbits and birds. According to several answers provided by WestJet in July 2011, the reasons for this are: a) that hedgehogs are exotic, and b) that hedgehogs are considered rodents, and are thus likely to chew through a soft-sided carrier, and c) being small, if they are likely to chew through a carrier, they will be able to get away more easily than a larger animal. This policy is based on inconsistencies and on incorrect assumptions about hedgehogs. 1. Yes, hedgehogs are exotic animals. However, so are many breeds of dogs and cats, and so are all birds... but they are all allowed to travel in the cabin. In addition, unlike many birds, hedgehogs are not subject to any exotic diseases that can ever be transferred to humans. 2. Hedgehogs may be small, but many birds are much smaller, as are many rabbits (such as dwarf rabbits), which does not prevent birds or rabbits from travelling in the cabin. 3. Hedgehogs are NOT rodents. Rodents are of the order of mammals Rodentia, characterized by two continually growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing. In other words, rodents have to chew constantly. Hedgehogs are NOT rodents. They are of the order Erinacoemorpha. They do NOT have incisors. They do NOT continually chew (in fact, they don't chew anything other than their food). In fact, their teeth are fairly fragile, meant to chew small insects. Hedgehogs have trouble chewing dried fruit, so to gnaw through an animal carrier will be absolutely, entirely impossible for a hedgehog. Rabbits, on the other hand, while not rodents, have continually growing incisors and have to constantly chew in order to wear them down. Rabbits, despite this, are allowed in airplane cabins. 4. Hedgehogs are exceptionally sensitive animals. Temperature lower than 73 degrees Fahrenheit/ 23 Celsius can cause them to go into hibernation. When a domestic hedgehog goes into hibernation, it will die. It is impossible to wake them up, and they starve to death. Temperatures higher than 83 Fahrenheit/ 28 Celsius can cause heat stroke, which is also deadly. In other words, there is a narrow margin of temperature in which hedgehogs can survive. On flights, especially long flights, the possible fluctuation of temperature in the animal cargo compartment is too uncertain and can cause too much temperature stress to a hedgehog. For the safety and health of these little animals, they need to have the option of travelling in the cabin, where their owner can monitor and regulate their temperature. 5. Hedgehogs are completely quiet, almost entirely hypoallergenic, usually travel on fleece bedding (as opposed to shavings), and have minimal to no odor. Cats, dogs, birds and rabbits can be loud, have fur, and are much messier than hedgehogs. Yet, they are allowed to travel in the cabin while hedgehogs are not. To summarize, there is no reason why hedgehogs should not be allowed in the cabin. We, the undersigned, are petitioning that WestJet and other applicable airlines allow the transport of hedgehogs in the cabin of commercial airplanes. They are NOT rodents, they can travel safely in a soft-sided carrier, they are quiet, clean and almost entirely hypoallergenic. If animals are guests too, then we trust that you will change your pet policy to allow hedgehogs to travel in the cabin. Thank you.