New Internationalist

We’re doomed!

You know how sometimes you hear of something happening in the world, perhaps something funny, sad, tragic, horrific or just jaw-droppingly bizarre, and you think: well, now I've heard it all?

Well, that happened to me this morning. An item on the news declared a new airline had been created solely for the purpose of transporting pets. Yes, pets. I had to turn the sound up in case I hadn't heard it right, then checked the date to see if it was still 1 April. But I had, and it wasn't. 

It seems two people in the US (where else?) founded the airline having got the idea while planning holidays with their pet dog.

'Currently, most pets travelling by air are transported in the cargo hold and are handled as baggage,' said co-founder, Dan Wiesel. 'The experience is frightening to the pets, and can cause severe emotional and physical harm, even death. This is not what most pet owners want to subject their pets to, but they have had no other choice, until now.'
There's more.

Pets - or pawsengers (geddit?), as the airline calls them - can be booked in online and are checked in to a Pet Lounge at the airport. Pet attendants give the animals a 'potty break' shortly before take-off and then monitor the animals during the flight. Owners - or Pet Parents (who are not allowed to fly with their pets) - can follow their travel progress using an online 'pet tracker'.

It's difficult to know how to react to all this. Incredulity, naturally. But anger and despair too. 

963 million people across the world are hungry. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes - one child every five seconds. In a world where thousands die for the want of the merest basics, money is wasted on this appalling nonsense. 

I'm really beginning to wonder if the human race has any real chance of survival. 

Perhaps the character Frazer in Dad's Army was right after all: 'We're doomed! We're all doomed!'

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About the author

Alan Hughes a New Internationalist contributor

Alan Hughes was a graphic artist at New Internationalist. He retired in 2014. He is a life-long socialist and trade unionist and is currently involved in the Keep Our NHS Public Campaign. He is passionate about The Beatles and has supported Aston Villa FC for over 50 years. He lives in Oxford with his daughter.

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