Air France Defends Transport of Lab Monkeys

the daily dish More on PawNation: Animal Testing, Monkeys, Science, The Dish

WASHINGTON - Air France defended its transport of live animals for laboratory testing, saying Tuesday it complies fully with international regulations governing the carriage of such animals.

Animal rights group PETA said Monday it hopes to collect 25,000 signatures by October 31 on an online petition urging Air France to cease transporting primates.

But in a statement from its Paris head office, Air France said its cargo unit ensures the airline only works with laboratories whose biomedical research "is fully in line with current legislation and the regulations drawn up by scientific organizations specializing in animal welfare."

It added that it "visits all customers" to ensure that testing protocols conform with regulations, and that it monitors animal suppliers "who must comply with the breeding rules in force."

"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, with particular caution on the part of all those involved," it said.

Air France went on to quote a European Union directive from 2010 as saying that "the use of nonhuman primates in scientific procedures is necessary for biomedical research.?

In its statement Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleged the French airline is among only a few major carriers that still transport monkeys for use in lab experiments.

In January 2012, PETA claimed success in urging Air France to cancel a shipment of monkeys from Mauritius to a US laboratory, following a similar appeal to supporters.

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