Airlines will not fly lab animals
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2005:
LONDON–Outsourcing animal research to nations where it
remains lightly regulated and non-controversial may accelerate with
the May 2005 decisions of British Airways, Air Mauritius, and Air
China to stop carrying animals who may be used in laboratories.
“I can confirm that Air China does not fly any laboratory
animals into the U.K. Our European offices also do not carry
primates and other animals destined for vivisection. There are now
no Air China flights worldwide carrying live animals for this
purpose,” said Lorna Allen, Air China marketing manager for Britain
and Ireland, in an e-mail posted at the Stop Huntingdon Animal
Cruelty web site.
Like other such policy decisions by national airways, the
Air China policy tends to encourage building labs and doing
experiments where the animals are, instead of moving animals to
existing labs which are often due for upgrade or replacement anyway.
As biotech work already draws heavily on personnel recruited
from Asia, the British Department of Trade & Industry is becoming
anxious about losing both breaking-edge research and routine animal
testing to Asian nations.
“Trade & Industry officials are understood to have raised
their concerns with senior British Airways management after the
airline’s decision not to accept the carriage of primates, wild
birds, or other live-caught animals ‘for use in any laboratory or
for experimentation or exploitation,'” reported Mark Honigsbaum and
Alok Jha of The Guardian on May 28.
British Airways adopted this policy, Honigsbaum and Jha
wrote, after “a campaign by extremists” that targeted airline and
airport management. Vandalism of homes and vehicles “was followed by
demonstrations at airline offices and travel agents across the UK by
a group called Gateway to Hell, “demanding a boycott of all travel
to Mauritius. An Air Mauritius spokesperson said it was not prepared
to risk its tourism industry while British Airways appears to be at
odds with British policy.”
A British Airways spokes-person told Hongsbaum and Jha that
the airline quit hauling animals for labs because, “This is a
specialist cargo. Carrying these animals is not part of our core
British Airways will continue to carry frozen mouse embryos
for labs, an easier cargo to handle and much less conspicuous.
British labs used about 4,800 monkeys in 2003, most of them
from nations which are working to develop their own biotech
industries. Mauritius supplied 7,843 of the 13,467 monkeys imported
into Britain between 1994 and 2000.
British labs have not been permitted to use wild-caught
monkeys since 1995, but activists argue that some of the imported
monkeys might have been among the 9,000 macaques who were captured as
breeding stock by Mauritian companies between 1992 and 1995.
Gateway to Hell has also directed protest toward Air France,
for allegedly flying monkeys from Mauritius to Paris, to be trucked
and ferried to Britain.
A company called Centre de Recherches Primatologiques Limited
is reportedly now trying for the third time in recent years to
establish a monkey breeding facility in Camarales, Tarragona,
Spain, which could also bypass airlines to supply labs elsewhere in
The Gateway tactics, wrote Honigsbaum and Jha, “mirror
those employed by SHAC–hardly surprising, say police, who claim
Gateway and SHAC are two halves of the same organization.”
Jury selection began on June 2 in Trenton, New Jersey, for
the trial of U.S. SHAC leaders Kevin Kjonaas, 27; Lauren Gazz-ola,
26; Jacob Conroy, 29; Joshua Harper, 30; Darius Fullmer, 28;
John McGee, 26; and Andrew Stepanian, 26.
Arrested in May 2004, the defendants are charged with three
counts each of interstate stalking and one count of conspiracy. Each
could get five years in prison plus a fine of $250,000, under the
federal Animal Enterprise Act, passed by Congress in 1992,
strengthened in 2002.
On June 1, Peonyland nursery owner Michael Hsu, of nearby
Allentown, Pennsylvania, announced that he was abandoning a plan to
build housing on the nursery site for up to 500 research monkeys.
The nursery was extensively vandalized on the night of May 26
by raiders whose methods resembled attacks on property belonging to
Huntingdon personnel. Graffiti left at the scene named the Animal
Liberation Front. Hsu said his decision was prompted by realizing
that the lot is too small.