Air Canada attacked for monkeying around
16 / 08 / 2012
AIR Canada has faced its second animal cargo-related embarrassment in three years with fresh allegations that the airline shipped lab monkeys from Beijing to Toronto on 20-21 January.
In 2007 Air Canada stopped shipping beagles used for medical research after a passenger complained about the noise. Now a whistleblower at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has allegedly informed the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) about the shipment of 48 primates.
Monkeys destined for research facilities are usually transported in cramped wooden crates in the cargo hold, BUAV says, where they can be subject to fluctuations in temperature, stopovers and in some cases long delays.
Air Canada, which says it cannot refuse the carriage of live animals for any purpose by law, finds its embarrassment a deeper shade of red because in 1994 the airline refused to carry a shipment of monkeys from Barbados because they were destined for a lab.
A veterinarian at LAB Research in Quebec says that monkeys are usually shipped by truck from the Toronto airport to avoid long layovers. In March 2010 Freighters World magazine investigated the issue to find that many research animals sent directly to the UK via freighters are now being put on to charter flights to Europe, usually Brussels, then trucked to places such as Manchester in the UK.
“Activists have obviously tried and failed to stop research institutions from doing their job, so now they’ve targeted the vendors supplying the institutions, including airlines which are flying in the animals,” Lisa Schoppa, president of the animal transportation association (ATA) and cargo service centre director at Continental Airlines, said.