According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), efforts to stop a shipment of 60 lab monkeys from reaching a U.S. testing lab have been successful.
The animal rights group spent an entire day emailing, posting on social media sites and making phone calls with Air France, the airline that was supposed to ship the monkeys. But Air France wasn’t PETA’s only focus this week. After making allegations about a U.S. branch of a Japanese testing lab, PETA targeted several airlines that ship in fresh animals to the facility, all in an effort to stop any more animals from reaching the testing facility.
But it seems that PETA wants to stop all shipments of all lab animals to all labs, according to a statement made to msnbc.com.
“We have written to Air France officials to urge them to adopt a formal policy against transporting primates destined for laboratories as nearly every other major airline in the world already does, including Air France’s partner airlines Delta and Alitalia. We have not yet received a response,” stated PETA’s associated director for lab investigations, Justin Goodman. “We are in touch with all of the remaining airlines that do not yet prohibit shipping primates to laboratories, and are making progress with several of them.”
Those which Goodman says they are making progress with include Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, TAM Airlines, Continental Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.
The airline refuses to comment on the specific shipment, but PETA supplied an email, reportedly from Air France, to msnbc.com, which stated: “Our colleagues overseas have confirmed that this scheduled shipment of monkeys has been cancelled.”
The airline did, however, release the following statement:
“Air France Cargo refuses to transport laboratory animals destined for any use other than ‘medical’ research. In addition, Air France Cargo ensures that all biomedical research involving the use of animals in laboratories with which the airline works is fully in line with current legislation and the regulations drawn up by scientific organizations specializing in animal welfare. Air France Cargo refuses transportation if the testing protocols do not conform to these regulations and visits all customers to make sure that this is the case. Air France Cargo also monitors the supplier, who must comply with the breeding rules in force.”
But Goodman says that the facility the animals were destined for, Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories, has received repeated fines for violating U.S. animal welfare laws. He also says that this particular facility does more than just ‘medical’ research.
“SNBL is a contract organization, which means that they test whatever anyone pays them to test, including drugs, chemicals, pesticides and cosmetics,” Goodman stated. “So unless Air France is asking SNBL for documentation for specifically how each and every monkey is being used at the lab, it is impossible for Air France – and the public – to know whether their policy is being adhered to or not.”