Urge United Airlines to say NO to Animal Research

  • by: AAVS
  • target: Jeffery A. Smisek - President and CEO

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"Last December, AAVS published a report entitled “Primates by the Numbers: the Use and Importation of Nonhuman Primates for Research and Testing in the United States.” It documents a growing trend in the research industry’s importation of monkeys and the suffering they are forced to endure. Although every major passenger airline based in the U.S. has decided to no longer transport animals for research, recently, United Airlines has been forced to reconsider this policy due to its merger with Continental Airlines, which has shipped animals destined for laboratories. The animal research industry is pressuring United to resume transporting animals for research, reversing a policy that has been in place for years. They are using scare tactics, asserting that further restrictions on the importation of nonhuman primates for experimentation could lead to a lost supply of animals needed in life-saving in research.

We need your help in encouraging United Airlines to say NO to transporting animals for research!

The transportation and importation of primates for use in experimentation has drawn fire in recent years, and rightfully so. As “Primates by the Numbers” documents, this unsavory practice tears juvenile monkeys from their families, packs them into crates, and sends them on grueling journeys that can last for days. An estimated one percent of imported primates die each year at quarantine facilities, having suffered from conditions including bloat, pericarditis, hemorrhagic enteritis, pneumonia, dehydration, trauma, stress, pulmonary edema, rectal prolapse, and parasitic worm infestation.

Over 21,000 primates were imported into the U.S. in 2010, with the the number of imported monkeys born to wild-caught parents quadrupling from 1998-2008.

These alarming statistics have not gone unnoticed. AAVS’s report was cited in an article about primate transportation in the journal Nature, where our letter to the editor appeared later, challenging the ethics of subjecting animals to such extreme conditions. Primates require special care and treatment from trained individuals and the nature of transport environments only exacerbate their susceptibility to illness and suffering. Commercial passenger airlines like United are right to stay away from a business they are clearly ill-equipped to handle.

What you can do:

Please contact United Airlines and urge the company to reject pressure from groups that profit from importing and exporting animals to research labs. Tell United that monkeys and other animals are not cargo but rather living beings who deserve compassion."

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