Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United States
Lauderdale air company drops plans to ship research monkeys

Pressure came from animal rights activists in Britain and Florida

By David Fleshler
Sun Sentinel
May 14, 2011

A Fort Lauderdale air charter company on Friday cancelled plans to fly a shipment of monkeys into the United States for scientific research after a campaign of calls and emails by animal rights groups in Florida and Great Britain.

IBC Airways had planned to bring African green monkeys Saturday from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts to Miami International Airport for delivery to a research laboratory.

But the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, which has investigated the primate trade for years, received a tip this week about the shipment, notified its members and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. The two groups organized a campaign of phone calls and emails to the company to call off the shipment, telling company officials that it was a cruel business that inflicts suffering on sensitive animals.

The company on Friday sent an email to the groups saying it has canceled the shipment and that it will join the growing list of companies -- including British Airways, Delta and several other major airlines -- that refuse to ship live primates for research.

"Please note that IBC has joined the efforts of others not to participate in this practice for this flight or any other future requests," wrote Erin Melder, of IBC, in an email to the British animal rights group. "IBC had no prior knowledge of this situation until today and we are grateful to have been given the opportunity to make a decision based on the information that has been provided to us from caring people such as yourselves." John Clark, the company's director of business development, confirmed the decision but declined further comment.

Sarah Kite, the British group's director of communications and special projects, congratulated the company in deciding to not participate in the "cruel trade in primates for research." "Monkeys are highly sensitive and intelligent animals," she said. "Their capture from the wild inflicts substantial suffering as they are torn from their families and homes. This is an issue that raises strong public concern. As a result, an increasing number of airlines have taken a stand against this cruelty and we are pleased that IBC Airways has joined them."

Don Anthony, spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, said, "It's great news that another airline has decided not to supply any of these cruel research facilities, where they languish in cages, where they suffer and eventually die."

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