Major airlines apparent illegal monkey shipment prompts complaint from animal rights activists Image: WICHAI WONGJONGJAIHAN/Shutterstock.com
AN alleged illegal transportation of monkeys by China’s Hainan Airlines has prompted a complaint from animal rights activists, PETA.
The American non-profit animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement after Hainan Airlines reportedly shipped 720 endangered long-tailed macaques in the month of August from Cambodia to Chicago.
The USDA confirmed that it had cancelled Hainan Airline’s registration in May, making this shipment an apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the organisation said on Thursday, August 25.
“Based on a whistleblower report, the monkeys were sent to a facility operated by Envigo Global Services Inc. in Alice,” PETA said in a statement.
It added: “Envigo has repeatedly shown that it values profits over animal welfare.
“Following PETA’s undercover investigation into Envigo’s beagle-breeding facility in Virginia last year, the USDA cited the company for 48 violations of the AWA and a US Department of Justice civil case led Envigo to announce that it will shut down the facility.
“In 2019, the USDA also cited the company’s monkey facility in Texas with a critical violation of the AWA for failing to provide 25 monkeys with food for six days. Envigo had to euthanise two of these animals because they were so severely starved.”
PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr Lisa Jones-Engel said: “Whether you’re talking about beagles or monkeys, Envigo cannot be trusted to take care of animals or safeguard public health.
“Monkeys brought in from squalid farms in Asia endure terrifying, gruelling journeys and can harbour everything from Ebola to malaria. If Hainan can’t be bothered to do the minimum of registering itself as required and Envigo doesn’t ensure that its carrier is legitimate, we have to ask whether they’re following any of the protocols required for public safety.”
Long-tailed macaques are now recognised as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the company noted.
“[This is in] large part due to their exploitation as part of the international wildlife trade to U.S. laboratories, where they’re mutilated, poisoned, deprived of food and water, forcibly immobilised in restraint devices, infected with painful and deadly diseases, psychologically tormented, and killed.”
Hainan appears to be one of the last airlines still shipping monkeys to laboratories.
In January, Kenya Airways ended the practice just 24 hours after discussions with PETA US, Air France followed suit in June after a decade-long campaign by PETA entities, and EGYPTAIR stopped shipping monkeys earlier this month following PETA entities’ global protests.