Air France is the only remaining airline that ships primates to labs across the United States and United Kingdom. Activists have been speaking out against this cruel trade and protests have been popping up around the world. The latest voice for these imprisoned and tortured animals is primate expert, Jane Goodall.
Goodall sent an email to Alexandre de Juniac, the chair and chief executive of Air France, just days before her highly anticipated May 14th speaking engagement in Paris. Goodall’s career studying primates spans decades, and she was sure to drop some knowledge in that email.
“You may not know this, but in the wild, long-tailed monkeys—the species Air France most commonly ships to laboratories—live in warm rain forests near the water and travel up to a mile a day playing, foraging for food and socializing with one another,” Goodall writes. “They live in groups of up to 30 and at night, they sleep huddled together high up in the trees. Babies are nursed by their mothers until they are more than a year old and females remain in the same social groups for life with their mothers, daughters, sisters and cousins. These social, intelligent primates can live to be more than 30 years old. Air France is unfortunately ensuring that they don’t get to experience any of this.”
Goodall also informed Air France that the monkeys taken from their beautiful, natural environment are being shipped – courtesy of Air France – to a miserable life in laboratories.
“Once Air France delivers these monkeys to laboratories on long and terrifying flights, they are deprived of everything meaningful and necessary for them to be happy,” Goodall writes. “In most cases, they are confined by themselves in small, desolate cages. They are denied physical contact with other monkeys. The only time they are removed from their cages is when someone is coming to subject them to a distressful or painful procedure. As would be the case in humans, this treatment leaves them desperately lonely, traumatised, and psychologically damaged. They often rock, spin, cry out, and even self mutilate.”
Goodall also writes that experiments with primates often involve cutting, electrocution, poisoning, infection, and starvation. By agreeing to ship these animals across the skies, Air France is ensuring their miserable fate.
The activist concludes her email with recognition to the airlines who have bowed out from this cruel trade and with hope that Air France will join them.
“All other major airlines—including Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, China Southern Airlines, United Airlines, Alitalia, Delta Airlines, British Airways and American Airlines—have made the compassionate decision to end their involvement in this business. I hope that you will take swift and decisive action to do the same,” writes Goodall in closing.
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