Friday, February 25, 2011

restrictions to service animals = restrictions to folks with disabilities, any way you cut it.

"Fearing a backlash, advocates for the disabled* last fall successfully lobbied the Department of Justice to narrow the definition of service animals. Beginning March 15, the Americans With Disabilities Act will only recognize dogs as service animals. The new regulations include a provision that says the public must accommodate, where reasonable, trained miniature horses as well. ...
The new rules are an effort to "stop erosion of the public's trust, which has resulted in reduced access for many individuals with disabilities who use trained service animals that adhere to high behavioral standards," according to a Justice Department spokeswoman."
Emphasis mine.
Well no surprise, i call bullshit. There are many reasons why people have service animals, and a wide range of species. i think it's a mistake to decide that because a few people who decide to use the current laws to their benefit (don't we all?), who are not disabled (according to whom exactly?), that because there are folks you think are "gaming the system", that what that should mean is an intensification of the restrictions. Who exactly do people think that affects the most? That's right, people with disabilities. 

It's already hard enough to deal with all the bureaucratic red tape bullshit of our various systems of support, without adding more. i don't blame people "gaming the system" for that. i blame a system which has some pretty fundamental flaws when it comes to disabled folks.

How does intensifying restrictions help PWD? How does it increase our collective understandings of the limitations of "disabilities"? How does it help folks not in a position to "prove" they are disabled? What sort of proof is expected? Are disabled folks expected to expose ourselves, our whole selves, in order to get on a fucking plane? That's rhetorical, because i know the answer: Yes we are. We always have been. How does this help?

* who are these "advocates" for "the disabled"? Why do they so often fight for further restrictions to the services PWD require?

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