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BUAV welcomes decision that Air Canada can stop transporting primates for research

20/12/2012

The BUAV has today welcomed an announcement by the Canadian Transportation Authority (CTA) to uphold Air Canada's decision to stop transporting primates destined for experiments.

The BUAV's long-running campaign has been responsible for exposing the role that passenger airlines play in the international trade in primates for research. Last year, the BUAV revealed that Air Canada transported a shipment of 48 monkeys from a breeding farm in China to a laboratory in Montreal. The revelation resulted in widespread publicity and caused an outcry across Canada. A subsequent campaign by the BUAV resulted in groups and individuals from around the world contacting Air Canada requesting that it stop transporting primates for the research industry.

Air Canada filed an amended tariff with the CTA that would enable it to discontinue the transportation of primates destined for research. Air Canada stated: “It was a decision taken both to align our policies with those of many other major international carriers and in response to widespread public concern.” However, the CTA announced that it was suspending Air Canada's amended tariff pending a hearing on this proposed new policy. The BUAV was an intervener in the case and submitted evidence to the CTA.

Michelle Thew, BUAV Chief Executive, stated:We are delighted that the Canadian Transportation Authority has upheld the decision by Air Canada to discontinue its involvement in the cruel transportation of primates for research. Air Canada now joins the increasing number of airlines that have taken the decision to dissociate themselves from the cruelty and suffering that are intrinsic to this industry. This is an issue of strong public concern and it is only right that Air Canada should be allowed to respond to that concern.”

The international trade in primates for research is a global industry that involves misery, suffering and death on a massive scale. The capture and confinement of such primates causes anxiety and stress. Transportation by air serves only to exacerbate these problems and contributes to further suffering. Primates destined for the research industry are packed into small wooden crates (usually too small to allow them to stand up) and travel as cargo, predominantly on passenger air flights to destinations around the world. In addition to the cramped conditions, the monkeys may have to endure delays, inadequate ventilation, noise and extreme temperature fluctuations as they are shipped on extremely long journeys to research laboratories across the world.

Airlines to have stopped transporting primates for research include British Airways, United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, South African Airways, Delta Airlines, Eva Air, China Airlines, American Airlines, Air China and Caribbean Airlines. There is now only a small number of passenger airlines that continues to be involved in this grim business. This includes Air France, Vietnam Airlines, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.