The difficulties surrounding the transport of laboratory animals, particularly primates, have been growing over the past 12 months. Efforts by PETA and the “Gateway to Hell” campaign have successfully coerced a number of airlines to stop transporting primates destined for labs, including Air Canada and United Airlines (both of which capitulated to animal rights demands in the last 2 months).
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience and the Society for Neuroscience have both called upon their members to contact these airlines and urge them to rethink their current policy. The Canadian organisation has suggested the following letter to the directors of Air Canada:
To: Mr. Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada
Dear Mr. Rovinescu,
I was troubled to learn that Air Canada has recently decided to halt transport of non-human primates for use in biomedical research. I urge you to reconsider this position, as animal models, including non-human primates, are essential to advancing our understanding of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that could lead to treatments and cures of these devastating conditions. Misinformation, spread by “animal rights” extremists, threatens to hinder research efforts, and must not be allowed to affect policy making in important Canadian companies such as yours.
The significant role that animal models play in lifesaving research is undeniable. Almost every major medical advance in the last century was made possible by carefully regulated, humane animal research. In Canada, the Canadian Council on Animal Care is responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the ethical use and care of animals in science in Canada, and institutions review all animal research to ensure the protection of the welfare of animals used for research purposes. Studies using animal models follows strict ethical guidelines. Airline transportation, provided by companies such as yours, ensures that laboratory animals are available for lifesaving biomedical research in universities, hospitals and research centers.
Highly vocal animal rights extremists are attempting to halt all research which involves animal models, and to sway public opinion in their direction. These people represent a very small number of individuals, much less than the millions who are dependent on the discoveries brought about by humane, well-regulated animal research – not to mention the tens of thousands of scientists who rely on air travel to attend scientific conferences and to conduct their research.
I hope that your personal commitment to advancing science, exemplified by your recent membership in the McGill University Health Research Center Board of Directors, will be reflected in policies at Air Canada that will allow important scientific research to move forward.
Name (First and Last)
Contact information: Email, Full mailing address.
The Advancing Animal Research blog has also got a petition running to support the transport of animal research (follow it on Twitter via @ERaemdonck). Keep an eye on this blog as it produces regular stories on the importance of animals to biomedical research, with a Canadian twist. The petition reads:
Support Medical Progress through Science and Animal Research
Most medical advancement is achieved through the tools provided by Science. Animal based research is a tool that benefits Humanity and animals alike. If you or a relative of yours is affected by a disease, a disability or a disorder, you’d like for cures, drugs or treatments to be available to you. Sign this petition to show your support!
Finally, for all those living in the UK, it is really important to sign and share the Government e-petition to “Protect transport of animals for medical research“. In the UK, animal rights activists have not only managed to shut down most air transport, but have also successfully pressured the ferry companies to shut down their own transportation of laboratory animals.
PETA and BUAV have operated a systematic campaign of lobbying against hauliers. The government must support and protect the medical research industry by ensuring animals are transported for vital medical research.
Ferry companies and airlines (inc. BA) are refusing to carry animals due to this pressure.
Life sciences = £50bn year to UK economy
UK biotech = 31% EU market
UK is responsible for 15% of world’s academic output.
The spurious claims of an (albeit vocal) minority of extremists are compromising the healthcare of future generations and damaging the economy.
So take 5 minutes to do the following:
- email Air Canada and United Airlines with the email from Society for Neuroscience
- Sign the Change.org petition in support of animal research
- Sign the Government e-petition urging the government to protect the transport of animals (UK only)
- Share these petitions and this post with as many people as possible on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google+ and any other outlet – see the social media buttons below.
Please Act Now!
Speaking of Research