Good work, Care2 community! Following your petition signatures and campaign to raise awareness on the horrors of animal testing, China Southern Airlines has agreed to stop transporting primates for the purposes of laboratory experiments as of last week.
With any luck, this progress will help to prevent some of the heartbreaking stories we’ve featured on laboratory primates in recent years:
- A macaque monkey in a U.S. lab was accidentally boiled alive when he was left in his cage as it was being washed with hot water.
- Employees at a laboratory in Mauritius slaughtered hundreds of monkeys after they grew too large to be of use to their experiments.
- Scientists in New Jersey violated many animal welfare laws by inflicting Ebola, strokes, seizures and the plague on the monkeys in one laboratory. (Fortunately, these monkeys were freed from this cruelty.)
Since the law protects primate experimentation in many countries, it’s difficult for activists to stop the inhumane testing altogether. Appealing to airlines is a strategic attempt to prevent monkeys from ever reaching these labs in the first place. If scientists have no reasonable way to transport the animals, it certainly throws a wrench in their plans. As China Southern Airlines was the last carrier from Asia that engaged in these activities, it will be especially difficult for primates in the continent to make their way to laboratories in the Western Hemisphere.
PETA took a leadership role in this campaign directed at China Southern Airlines, holding protests at both airports and corporate offices at locations around the world, including Taiwan, Tokyo, London and Los Angeles.
Previously, PETA and other animal rights groups have systematically targeted other airlines like American Airlines and convinced them to forbid primates designated for testing on their planes. Now that China Southern Airlines has removed itself from the game, only one major air company remains in the primate transporting business: Air France.
If Air France were to refuse to stop shipping monkeys as well, air transport of primates would be essentially off the table for laboratories altogether. Alas, Air France has not yet budged. “If nothing authorizes an airline from ruling on the merits of using animals in biomedical research… then nothing authorizes it from refusing this type of transport in a perfectly legal way,” the airline said in a statement.
The prospect of changing Air France’s existing policies is not entirely bleak, fortunately. In 2012, protesters were able to talk the airline into cancelling a specific shipment of laboratory monkeys from Mauritius. This event demonstrates that Air France is hearing the calls of animal rights activists, and that it is willing to cave when the pressure is strong.
Keeping that in mind, help put that pressure on Air France by signing Care2’s latest petition directed at the airline.