Amerijet Stand Strong for Research

A recent animal rights letter writing campaign by the Animal Rights Foundation fo Florida (ARFF) has targeted the airline Amerijet, who transport animals for the use in lifesaving medical research. Rather than cave to these pressures, Amerijet not only stood strong, but also stood up for their role in ensuring that their part in animal research (the transport of animals) is done as humanely as possible.

Dear Ms. Alexander,

Your organization has called upon Amerijet to refuse to transport primates that may be used in research. We have carefully considered the position taken by our organization. However we stand by our decision to transport animals and will continue in the future to serve the needs of our customers for animal transport. We would like to explain briefly the reasons for our decision.

First, we value and respect our customers. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality of transportation services for those who have entrusted their shipping needs to us. Just as importantly, we believe in the right of any business or individual to engage in lawful endeavors of their own choosing. To refuse to provide transportation services requested of us does not respect our customers’ right to engage in lawful pursuits and is inconsistent with our values as a company.

At Amerijet we strive to comply with all laws, regulations and international conventions that apply to out business, including those relating to the transportation of live animals. Transporting live animals by air is considered to be the most humane and expedient method of transporting animals over long distances, so long as the laws, rules and conventions applying to animal transport are met.

We expect our customers also to make every effort to meet the legal and international standards that concern the welfare of animals transport. We have in the past declined to do business with costumers who were under investigation by government or other enforcement bodies for violations of law or international conventions. We will continue to transport animals for all lawful purposes. We commit to you, however, that we will make every effort to ensure that we are transporting animals for customers that are in turn complying with all legal requirements concerning the welfare of those animals, and will decline to do business with potential customers that are under investigation by governments or other enforcement bodies for failing to meet legal standards or international conventions.

Finally, we are sharing these thoughts with ARFF because we believe ARFF attempts, as we do here at Amerijet, to be a responsible and lawful corporate citizen. We also believe that ARFF respects that individuals and entities will not always agree and that we each are entitled to hold our own views and opinions without fear of physical harm or damage to property because of those views.

Unfortunately, we believe the tactics that have been engaged in or that are planned for the near future by some individuals or groups that have targeted Amerijet are the sort of animal rights extremist actions that federal laws, including the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, are intended to protect law-abiding citizens against – including our employees and customers. We have made the decision to continue to transport animals after careful consideration, and we will not be deterred by what we consider to be unlawful threats, harassment or intimidation of our employees or customers or acts of vandalism or property damage. Instead, we are prepared to defend our employees, our customers, and our business to the full extent of the law.

You have called upon us to consider our position regarding transporting animals, and we have done so thoughtfully and believe we have responded to you honestly and forthrightly despite our differences of opinion. We now ask you to consider the actions and anticipated actions of individuals and groups that ARFF appears to have aligned itself with against Amerijet. We call upon you to publicly denounce any tactic that may intimidate, harass, or cause fear among our employees or our customers simply because they do not agree with those who hold a contrary view. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

David G. Bassett

CEO, Amerijet International, Inc.

More companies need to stand up animal rights groups and actively voice their support for their role in supporting research at universities, pharmaceuticals and other research institutions.

Cheers

Tom

13 responses to “Amerijet Stand Strong for Research

  1. Dario Ringach

    @ Matt,

    Yes, I think special relations are important too. I do not believe inherent properties is all that matters. So, for example, I think you might be justified in saving your child rather than mine in a burning house. I think you might be justified in saving any member of your family rather than mine. It may then be justified to consider mankind as an extended family.

    See, for example:

    http://www.stonybrook.edu/philosophy/faculty/ekittay/articles/margins.pdf

    • Dario, I can accept that special relations can be important.

      But special relations can apply to animals too. If someone felt strongly enough about their pet dog, would they be justified in saving it rather than a stranger’s child with a similar cognitive capacity to the dog?

      If I felt a stronger connection with white people than black people, would I be justified in only employing white people, regardless of their skills?

  2. “More companies need to stand up animal rights groups”

    I find this somewhat odd. I didn’t think even pro-vivisectionists were necessarily against all animal rights per se. For example, one would hope that all scientists would agree that animals have a right not to be tortured merely for the personal enjoyment of the torturer. And that animals have a right not to be inflicted with unneccessary stress in medical experimentation.

    Of course, disagreeing what rights animals have is where the conflict occurs, especially the right to life. But to suggest that it is a case of all animal rights v all science is, frankly, moronic.

    • What I find odd is when a small group of people decide that legitimate and responsible science cannot be permitted and use whatever means at their disposal (including, but not limited to violence, threats and stalking) to achieve their ends. And indeed, I think many people (including quite a few that may not feel personally all that comfortable with animal use in science) feel that way, too.

      The irony of your statement is that there are many animal rights activists who suggest that the evidence of relatively rare deficiencies in laboratories means that they are endemic (which all available evidence says they are not). If animal rights activists were internally consistent, they would be parsimonious in casting such aspersions while simultaneously expecting others to understand the nuance of the views of individuals in their movement.

    • Speaking for myself — I do not think animals have moral rights (for the same reason Carl Cohen articulates) but we certainly have moral obligations towards them.

      I agree with you that animals ought not to be harmed without a good reason, but I think there are morally compelling reasons under which we might harm an animal. A concrete example: I think it is morally justifiable to use a pig to replace the heart valve of a human patient.

      Animal rights groups are not to be lumped with animal welfare groups. I support animal welfare and so does any other scientist I know.

      • “Speaking for myself — I do not think animals have moral rights (for the same reason Carl Cohen articulates) but we certainly have moral obligations towards them.”

        Saying that we have moral obligations to animals is pretty much the same as saying animals have rights, at least in certain situations. In the case of people for example, I have an obligation not to intentionally kill someone; and that person has a right not to be killed.

        “I agree with you that animals ought not to be harmed without a good reason, but I think there are morally compelling reasons under which we might harm an animal. A concrete example: I think it is morally justifiable to use a pig to replace the heart valve of a human patient.”

        As I said, the conflict depends on which rights animals are granted. You think we have an obligation (‘ought’) not to harm them without good reason. Therefore, animals have a right not to be harmed without good reason. But you don’t believe they have an inviolable right to life. But then, even human rights are not inviolable: conflicts between rights of different individuals often arise, and in these cases we have to decide which right comes out on top.

        As for Carl Cohen, I assume you’re referring to his ‘of a kind’ argument?

    • Dario Ringach

      @Matt

      i don’t think saying we have obligations towards X automatically implies that X has rights. For example, I believe we have an obligation to take care of the environment, but I am not sure the environment has a “right” to anything. To be able to hold a right one must be able recognize the rights of others and even acts against his/her own interests to enforce such respect. Animals cannot do this; they are not full moral agents.

      I think have an obligation not to harm animals for a good reason. Finding cures, developing therapies, and improving the well being of humans and animals alike is a good reason to me.

      • When you say “we have an obligation to take care of the environment”, presumably what you are assigning rights to is not the environment itself, but the entities that will benefit from its protection: people and animals.

        (If you think we have an obligation to protect the environment *independently* of the fact that people and animals benefit from it, then yes, I would say you are saying the environment has rights.)

        But if you say we have obligations towards animals, how does this make sense, other than if the animals themselves have rights? Do you think torturing an animal for personal amusement would be simply immoral because it could lead to people developing flawed characters and ultimately harming other people? Or do you think it would be immoral because the animal itself suffers?

        “To be able to hold a right one must be able recognize the rights of others and even acts against his/her own interests to enforce such respect. Animals cannot do this; they are not full moral agents. ”

        Sure, but neither can many humans. I guess this is where you bring in Cohen’s “of a kind” argument, but to me, that equally justifies favouring someone simply because they are the same race or nationality as you.

  3. Denis Alexander

    “Amerijet has violated the lax Animal Welfare Act 13 times in the last few years”

    Can you support that with documentation including the consequences suffered by Amerijet for violating the law?

    • This link opens a pdf with the United States Department of Agriculture report about the transport of the fifteen tamarins that were transported in conditions in violation of the animal welfare act:

      http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/pdfpage.jspx?custid=21211

      • OK, so a routine inspection by USDA fount that some crates used by Amerijet did not have enough ventilation holes, the standards require spare ventilation capacity in case any ventilation holes get blocked. Obviously the design of the crates was inadequate, exactly the kind of thing you’d expect a routine USDA inspection to identify and act on. After all their job is to prevent problems.

        But there’s no evidence that any monkeys were hurt because of this. I expect Amerijet has acted on the USDA report and ensures that any crates it carries now meet the required standards.

        Now what about the other 13 violations you mention? Even Wikipedia only mentions 2.

      • “I expect Amerijet has acted on the USDA report and ensures that any crates it carries now meet the required standards.”

        One would hope so, but why must it take being caught to ensure they meet the required standards?

        “Now what about the other 13 violations you mention? Even Wikipedia only mentions 2.”

        I’m also wondering that. (I didn’t mention the 13, btw).

        “The report doesn’t say the ventilation actually was blocked, just that it could have been and that the design of the containers was inadequate. Actually, reading their shipping conditions, it sounded much like the last time I flew coach. Only I bet the tamarins didn’t have to pay $12 for a crappy boxed in-flight meal.”

        Well, I didn’t say the ventilation was actually blocked either. ‘Against Abuse’ above stated there was not sufficient ventilation. And that was the case.

  4. Against Abuse

    Amerijet has violated the lax Animal Welfare Act 13 times in the last few years. For instance, fifteen Tamerin monkeys were transported in crates with half the sufficient ventilation required by law. Standing with Amerijet is morally bankrupt and exposes pro-vivisection extremists as just apologists for illegal and unethical animal abuse.