The BUAV welcomes the decision made by EL AL Israel Airlines to stop transporting primates destined for the research industry. The airline will now join the BUAV’s growing list of airlines that refuse to be associated with the international trade in primates for research.
The BUAV’s long-standing campaign has helped persuade many of the world’s major carriers to refuse to transport primates destined for the research industry. This includes United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Northwest Airlines, South African Airways, Delta Airlines, Eva Air, British Midland and China Airlines.
Every year tens of thousands of primates are transported around the world for the international research industry, destined to be used in experiments during which most will suffer and die. Primates are packed into wooden crates, usually too small to allow them even to stand up, and travel as cargo, predominantly on passenger air flights. The monkeys can endure inadequate ventilation, noise and extreme temperature fluctuations, as well as delays as they are shipped on extremely long journeys to laboratories across the world. The animals originate in countries such as Mauritius, China, Cambodia, Laos, Tanzania, Barbados and Israel. Some are trapped in the wild while others are captive bred in factory farms.
The BUAV and Israeli animal group, Behind Closed Doors, have worked together to achieve this important ban announced by EL AL. For many years EL AL Airlines has been a key transporter of primates, including the transportation of primates (originating in Mauritius) to Israel as well as transporting primates from Israel to countries such as the UK and the USA. Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are bred and supplied to the international research industry by Mazor Farm (BFC Israel), a company based in Israel.
A small number of airlines continue to play a part in this cruel trade. Recent information obtained by the BUAV shows that Air France, Air China, American Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern and Philippine Airlines all transported primates during 2009.
BUAV’s Director of Special Projects, Sarah Kite states: “We applaud EL AL Israel Airlines for taking this important stance. The trade in primates for research inflicts great cruelty. Airlines play a key role in this chain of suffering by transporting primates as cargo around the world. We urge those remaining airlines to reconsider their role and adopt a policy to stop the transportation of primates destined for the research industry.”