Animal groups call on Air Canada to stop transporting monkeys after whistleblower raises concerns about shipment to Canada

VANCOUVER (January 24, 2011) – The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), a leading animal protection organization based in the UK, has joined with Canadian animal advocacy groups, STOP UBC Animal Research, and Animal Alliance of Canada, to call on Air Canada to stop transporting non-human primates destined for the research industry. The call comes following a tip-off to the BUAV from a concerned member of staff at Toronto Airport that monkeys from breeding farms in China are flown into Toronto Airport. The monkeys are held at the airport overnight, for up to 15 hours or more, before sent on another Air Canada flight to Montreal and their final destination. The most recent shipment of 48 monkeys arrived in Toronto on Saturday, January 22.

 

The BUAV, STOP UBC Animal Research, and Animal Alliance are calling upon concerned Canadian citizens and Air Canada passengers from around the world to contact the airline to show the strength of pubic feeling on this issue.

 

The international trade in primates for research is a global industry that involves misery, suffering and death on a massive scale. Thousands of monkeys are trapped in the wild, ripped from their family groups and native habitats; others are bred in captivity, usually under factory-farmed conditions. 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 usually packed into small wooden crates (often 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.

 

The BUAV has led the international campaign calling on airlines to stop transporting primates destined for the research industry, an issue of strong public interest. In recent years, an increasing number of airlines have taken the decision to dissociate themselves from the cruelty and suffering that are intrinsic to the trade in primates. These include British Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Northwest Airlines, Qantas Airways, South African Airways, Delta Airlines, Eva Air and China Airlines. Air Canada is one of only a small number of passenger airlines that continues to be involved in this grim usiness.

 

BUAV’s Director of Special Projects, Sarah Kite, states: “Shipping these highly sensitive and intelligent animals as cargo in small wooden crates is in itself appalling. For them to have to suffer these cramped conditions for a further 15 hours or more is shocking. This is an issue of strong public concern. We urge Air Canada to join the growing list of airlines that have stopped their involvement in the cruel trade in primates.”

 

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