Congratulate Airline for Stopping the Shipment of Primates for Animal Testing

Target: United Airlines President Jeff Smisek

Goal: Thank United Airlines for its decision to no longer ship primates to labs that conduct animal testing

In 2011, when United and Continental Airlines merged, they allowed primates to be transported as cargo. This week, largely as the result of pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), United Airlines has announced that it will no longer ship primates. This decision will have a significant impact on the animal testing market and deserves our thanks.

The investigation began in 2011 after it was discovered that the U.S. government paid $1.3 million in stimulus money, which was supposed to be used to create jobs, to purchase 108 monkeys from the Florida company Primate Products for flu virus experiments. Estimates indicate that there are currently 125,000 primates in laboratories across the United States being used for medical testing. This does not include the hundreds that die every year in planes while they are being transported.

Until now, United remained the only major U.S. airline to transport primates to or from medical research facilities after American Airlines ended the practice in 2011. Air Canada and Air China have also enforced bans leaving only four airlines that still transported primates for these purposes. Eliminating air travel as a means of transportation will have a dramatic effect on the labs that test on animals and suppliers like Primate Products, who will now only be able to use trucks.

Government officials and laboratories across the country have argued that limited access to primates will have serious consequences for human health because it will be more difficult to develop vaccines. Don Bradford, president of Primate Products even made a statement declaring that PETA and United Airlines were ultimately doing more harm than good. But if a longer human life means torture, suffering, and death for others, what value does it have? We cannot continue to destroy the world for the purpose of our own selfish ends. Please sign the petition below and show your support for United Airlines’ decision to stop bringing thousands of primates to their death.


Dear Jeff Smisek,

Thank you for your decision to stop United Airlines from transporting primates to medical research facilities. Hundreds of thousands of primates are forced to endure unimaginable cruelty and suffering every year because of human selfishness. As the final U.S. Airline to ban the practice, your contribution will have a significant impact on the animal testing industry and the availability of primates in North America.

Again, thank you for ending your participation in such a cruel industry. We hope that the remaining airlines who still ship animals to these labs look to you for inspiration so that we can live in a world where these helpless primates aren’t being transported to their death.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ash-rly via Flickr

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  1. Animal research remains a vital tool to save lives. By forcing airlines to stop transporting monkeys all activists have done is cause a drop in animal welfare as the animals must be transported on long journeys in trucks rather than quickly by plane.

    • I am shocked at the callousness of people who still support the torture of animals in the name of research.
      Why are humans so precious that we take the lives of innocent creatures? Man is the worst predator. Animal testing is outdated, unnecessary and cruel beyond belief.
      Use human volunteers and the many research models already available.

      • Kenneth Dyson says:

        Typical straw-man argument. No one is supporting the torture of animals in the name of anything. You want to talk needless killing of animals? I urge you to check out the practices of the so called animal rights group behind all these alarmist statements:
        Those animals die at the hand of PETA for no benefit to anyone.
        The animals that are carefully and ethically experimented on, and who unfortunately must be sacrificed, at least are dignified with serving a purpose: to reduce suffering in humans and in other animals. How do you think veterinary treatments for your precious pets are developed?
        Look at the big picture please. Do not buy in to the hype and propaganda. Emotional arguments are potent, but do not tell the whole, far more complex story.

        • Keneth, the fact that PETA may have done harm, it does not negate the fact that it is immoral to test on an unconsentual creature! duhhh, logic, it’s hard, I know!

        • Andrew Helton says:

          Actually, the idea that medical testing is done carefully or ethically doesn’t hold water. A good example of this is psychological tests, which are medical tests. I won’t name the institution, but a very dear friend of mine did research at a university in the U.S. that has a primate research lab where they do this kind of testing. One of the tests they did was to determine which part of the brain was responsible for sadism so they could locate it and try to create a medicine that would essentially try to prevent the desire for sadistic behavior. The test was hooking electrodes to monkeys, giving someone the button, and seeing how far they would go. Basically, seeing how much they were willing to torture the monkey and how much pleasure they got from it. If that is what we consider ethical, or careful, we need to change the way see the world.

          It isn’t a question of whether or not the ends justify the means. It’s a matter of choice. These animals did not volunteer. They do not know what their lives are being sacrificed for. They have no say in the matter at all. If humans want to live longer healthier lives so badly, humans should be responsible enough, and unselfish enough, to volunteer themselves for the testing and the research.

    • Andrew Helton says:

      If you were being shipped off to your death against your will would you really care if it was done in a plane or on a truck?

  2. Andrew Helton Andrew Helton says:

    The world is not here to do with as we please. I would rather die at 35 because of disease and illness than live an existence where the world is nothing more than a means to our own selfish ends. A short life free of suffering is better than a long one that is only possible as the result of a great deal of suffering.

  3. oh, please, you act as if you are GOD! Who gave you the right to test on animals in order to find some supposed cure?? what if…for the sake of argumentation , in another life you “scientists” were born in an animal skin?? how would YOU like to be tested on? Give me a break! There is no moral in testing on a creature who didn’t consent on this! there are lots of convicted criminals who can agree to such measures. don’t impose your brutal force over innocent creatures! Animals did NOT consent to being tested on so this procedure is absolutely immoral!

  4. The eternal heated debate. WATCH the footage, and it isnt just from PETA. God bless PETA because really, people just refuse to take a look unless someone gets radical. They may not be perfect, but they have brought things to light. “Research” is sometimes necessary, but not as much anymore. Advancements in research TECHNIQUES have been made. Still, I have read far too many stories and seen far too much footage about the gas labs testing on dogs (that finally got shut down because of PETA, and we are just FINE without the YEARLY gassing of dogs to death). or the asthma research at UT Southwestern in Dallas, where they removed the dogs’ lungs and forced them on a treadmill to”research” asthma. UTSW is supposedly a reputable school. If research is under such strict guidelines, then put us all in hazmat suits and allow tours during the procedures. I have heard the belief that animals dont feel pain like we do, so anesthesia is frequently deemed unnecessary. Three wors: central nervous system! OR in the case of research for pain meds, the animals are subjected to pain, like the story I heard where “the cat will eventually stop reacting, whether it be electric shock or..” ok STOP, electric shock?? Then the story about the “doctors” who studied tear duct response by taking kittens, removing the tear ducts and putting horseradish in their eyes to see if tears would still come. And primate research may have gotten SOME advances, but the issue we are not looking at here is MONEY. Those labs that strap these animals down, leave them in cages either their entire lives or the bulk of it, never seeing sunlight, or being held and cared for, are getting PAID to do that. So all the justification falls way short when you get paid to do this and tell me how much money is worth it to put a monkey in a box, up to its head, force a tube down its throat and force feed it poison until it grimaces and its teeth chatter? Or operate on its spine and let it try to move around on its own, with no pain meds? Ever had a back spasm? Multiply that by 100 and that animal is in agony. You can see it in their eyes for god’s sake. And what about common sense? I shop at Whole Foods, never had a problem realizing that cleaners are not beverages. No animal has to be fed its body weight in that crap for me to understand that. What is WRONG with you people that you would see that and say it’s ok cuz it MIGHT help a human? I’ve seen the footage where they calmly say, “and this is the kitten on its second day without water..” REALLY?????? And how many died AFTER they found out how long it takes a cat to die without water? And that has helped me HOW? A tiny bit of good has come, like the polio vac. But much MUCH more harm has been done in the name of “science” because somebody is making a lot of money. The Pharm, Inc. companies do, the makeup companies, industrial and chemical companies (um really do you need to oven cleaner on the back of a shaved rabbit to see what it will do these days? YOu already know.). And burn center research, I saw the footage where someone had the bright idea to blow torch a pig, because their skin is like our skin. Well, what we got was a burnt animal, that was STILL ALIVE to feel that. For god’s sake!! It needs to stop. We are better than this, we know how t The Mayo clinic itself calls these practices barbaric and BAD science. You know our indigenous folks figured this out all by themselves. Plant medicine they call it. They observed, they RESPECTED and still do. Just because someone decided ‘this is the way it has to be” and others agreed, does not mean it needs to stay that way. Advancement should mean advancement in the humane treatment of these sentient beings.

  5. Susan Allsbrook says:

    There is nothing ethical about testing on animals. The people who test in the name of science don’t care anything about the animals. The animals suffer in small cages with various tubes connected to them. If an animal gets sick the animal usually dies a slow terrorized death. They aren’t there to save the life of these animals, they’re there to test on them. My only comment to Slim is “It must be dark up there” Animals endure torturous tests….hum..lets cut off the rabbits leg and see what he does. These tests are cruel. They get burned, put into small confined spaces with their hands and feet tied up. Everything in the market has been tested on an animal….bleach….drain cleaner….battery acid….any chemical you can buy…an animal gave it’s life for.

    • Andrew Helton says:

      This is exactly right, Susan. When you buy something labeled as “toxic” or “non-toxic” you better believe they made an animal eat/drink it or injected it then to determine it’s toxicity.

    • YOu are so right and well said. And might I add, gave it’s life SLOWLY. Animals feel pain, animals feel fear. They know what is happening to the other animals, too. And the tests themselves are so rudimentary, so NOT thought out. The head injury studies that put monkeys in effing paint mixer contraptions, so the shaking would scramble their brains enough to mimic a head injury, really? We have MRI machines now and we have patients with head injuries. While you are making your $1,500 a pop taking those MRI’s give some notes as to how that patient ended up in the hospital and their progress. YOu dont need to torture an animal and by the way, we are not monkeys/rabbits/pigs/cats/mice. Again, THANK GOD for PETA…and thank god for people like you speaking up Susan!

  6. we don’t need vaccines. Vaccines do more harm than good.

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