Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, January 24, 2011

Air Canada Criticized for Transporting Research Monkeys

Awful. For the full Toronto Star story, go here.
The arrival of 48 monkeys on a flight from China this weekend has brought Air Canada under fire for shipping primates destined for research laboratories, but the airline says it is obliged by federal law to accept monkeys as cargo.

A Pearson International Airport employee tipped off the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection that a shipment of monkeys destined for Montreal was being held at the Toronto airport after arriving from China on Saturday.

Sarah Kite, director of communications and special projects for the BUAV, said monkeys destined for research facilities are usually transported in cramped wooden crates in the plane’s cargo hold, where they can be subject to fluctuations in temperature, stopovers and in some cases long delays....

Air Canada is one of a small number of airlines that continues to transport these primates, Kite said. Under pressure from animal rights groups and the public, many airlines have banned the practice. British Airways, for example, has a policy of “not carrying live animals that are for use in any laboratory, or for experimentation or exploitation,” according to media liaison manager Sophie Greenyer.

1 comment:

Andrew Heaton said...

Ana,

In fairness to Air Canada, I do not believe that they did the wrong thing so far as 'agreeing' to transport the monkeys in the first place is concerned. Regardless of how Air Canada, its employees or its customers may feel about animal testing, the airline does not have the authority to disregard legal requirements as set down by the Canadian Transport Agency. The airline was right, I feel, to fulfill its legal obligation to transport the animals.

But that does not mean to say that they should have to endure poor conditions along the way. The airline probably can’t do much about temperature fluctuations (although it should attempt to provide some form of insulation) or delays or stopovers. But it can ensure that crates used to transport monkeys are of a sufficient size so as to provide the monkeys with a reasonably comfortable journey.