09 August 2011

Animal protection groups ask Air Canada to cease transporting lab animals

The friendly skies became a bit friendlier recently when American Airlines decided to stop transporting laboratory primates. Now Humane Society International/Canada and the Animal Alliance of Canada are calling on Air Canada to follow suit and to cease shipping animals destined for “research, toxicity testing, or other harmful laboratory experimentation.”

According to HSI and AAC, Air Canada was one of the good guys during the early 90s when the company refused to transport research monkeys.

Cue bureaucracy.

In 1998, a ruling by the Canadian Transportation Authority apparently required the airline “to abandon that decision based on the wording of its cargo tariff.” In other words “the man” forced Air Canada to allow shipments of lab animals once again.

Not surprisingly officials with HSI and AAC disagree and after obtaining a legal opinion from Lawyers for Animal Welfare, the groups have concluded that “Air Canada is within its rights to reinstate its former policy if it simply changes the wording of its cargo tariff.”

“The law is clear,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada. “Air Canada has every right, and a moral obligation, to stop shipping animals, including primates, to labs for use in harmful experiments.”

“Air Canada has previously refused to ship animals for this purpose, and given the conclusions of our legal analysis and the suffering of the animals involved, we urge the airline to take immediate action to reinstate this policy,” added Animal Alliance director Liz White.

On July 8, the two Canadian non-profits submitted a copy of the aforementioned legal decision to Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu and requested a response within 30 days.

You may have to sit down for this, but to date Air Canada’s top man has yet to reply.

Eric Fortney | Facebook |@elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/bribri