Allow Airlines to Refuse Transport of Research Animals

This week, NAVS urges action to oppose requiring airlines to transport animals destined for research.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s newly-released animal use data, 75,825 non-human primates and 64,707 dogs were used for research in 2017. For many years, NAVS (along with numerous other groups) petitioned airline companies to stop transporting these and other animals to be used for research. It was a successful campaign, and as a result a vast majority of airlines now refuse to accept research-bound animals for transport.

Recently, however, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation alleging that four airlines are illegally discriminating against research companies by refusing to carry animals for research while they transport live animals for other purposes, including zoos and for the pet trade.

There is a world of difference, however, between transporting companion animals to a loving home or transferring animals to accredited sanctuaries, zoological societies, or other facilities, and shipping animals destined to suffer in a laboratory.

The complaint, brought at the request of NABR members Covance Research Products, Inc., Marshall BioResources and others, alleges that they are being treated unfairly, and that the airlines have conceded to demands by animal rights groups to avoid political criticism.

NABR alleges that “discrimination” against research animals is practiced by both domestic airlines transporting animals from breeding facilities in Florida, Maryland and other states around the country, and by international airlines importing primarily nonhuman primates from China, Mauritius and Israel.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently accepting comments on this complaint. Many universities and research companies have submitted statements in support of the complaint, so we need to ensure that the DOT hears from individuals and organizations that support the right of airline companies to choose to follow a more ethical path.

Please submit a polite message—in your own words—to the DOT, noting that:

  • You oppose the formal complaint and believe that airlines should not be forced to carry animals for any reason;
  • Animals packed for transport are treated as commodities, not living creatures, and they suffer as a result;
  • Researchers should be asking why we are subjecting more than 792,000 animals—not including mice, rats and birds—to research instead of finding more humane and effective ways to conduct research that benefits human health. 


This entry was posted in News on October 18, 2018.
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