France – In their latest campaign against laboratory-tested primates PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has given 26 reasons why you should never fly Air France.
Air France, says the PETA campaign, claims to be “making the sky the best place on Earth.” But “in reality the airline is making the sky a dangerous and scary place” – that is if you are a non-human primate. The airline is one of the largest transporters of primates in the world” and continues to fly monkeys to US laboratories from all over the world even though every other airline (see list here) —including Air France’s commercial partner, KLM —have since stopped the practice.
Many of the primates destined for US laboratories have been snatched from the wild, mostly from the jungles and forests of South East Asia and Africa; or are bred on decrepit ‘factory’ farms. Investigators recently exposed such a farm on the island of Mauritius and documented shocking cruelty to the macaques being bred there. Macaques are in high demand by the American and European research industries, more than 10,000 macaques priced at $4,000 each are exported from Mauritius annually – and Air France is the airline responsible for their transport.
PETA says that “according to a graphic Daily Mail article, “frightened baby macaques, who were snatched from their mothers and their homes, were tattooed [with ID numbers]—without any pain relievers”—before being crammed into tiny wooden crates in the cargo holds of Air France passenger flights, to endure a dark and terrifying journey. They are often loaded right under the feet of unsuspecting passengers.
Sometimes on these flights the monkeys are not given food, water, or veterinary care and die “excruciating and terrifying deaths” during multi-stop journeys that can last more than 30 hours.
Those that survive the flight will, upon arriving in the U.S.A, be transported to facilities such as Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories and Covance—the largest buyers of primates in the United States. Here they will be subjected to painful, invasive, and irrelevant experiments, starved and restrained in order to force them to participate in the experiments. They will be infected with diseases, roughly force-fed chemicals and drugs, their heads drilled into, and objects screwed into them. Ultimately, they will be killed when they’re no longer useful.
Another animal welfare campaign organization, Care2, says: “If Air France were to refuse to stop shipping monkeys, air transport of primates would be essentially off the table for laboratories altogether”.
But the airline has repeatedly defended its actions with this official statement: “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 prospect of changing Air France’s official stance is, fortunately, attainable. In 2012, protesters forced the airline to cancel a specific shipment of laboratory monkeys from Mauritius. This event demonstrates that Air France is aware of the calls of animal rights activists and may cave in if the pressure from the public is strong enough. In 2013, Air France, Los Angeles were humiliated by huge billboards plastered outside LAX by L.A.-based Last Chance for Animals (LCA). It’s only a matter of time before their self-imposed isolation as the only airline linked to the vivisection industry.
For more on PETA’s campaign to halt Air France transporting primates for laboratories go to: https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=4529