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