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August 9, 2011

Canadian Animal Protection Groups Call on Air Canada to Refuse Lab Animal Shipments

Humane Society International/Canada

  • HSI is working to end animal experiments forever. The HSUS

MONTRÉAL—Humane Society International/Canada and the Animal Alliance of Canada have issued a call for Air Canada to reject shipments of animals for research, toxicity testing, or other harmful laboratory experimentation—a policy which has already been adopted by United Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and other major airlines. Air Canada was criticized in January when animal protection groups exposed a shipment of dozens of monkeys aboard an Air Canada flight from China destined for laboratories in Quebec.

In the early 1990s, Air Canada refused to ship monkeys for research, but a 1998 ruling by the Canadian Transportation Authority forced the airline to abandon that decision based on the wording of its cargo tariff. However, HSI Canada and the AAC have recently obtained a legal opinion [PDF] from Lawyers for Animal Welfare concluding that Air Canada is within its rights to reinstate its former policy if it simply changes the wording of its cargo tariff.

“The law is clear,” says Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI Canada. “Air Canada has every right, and a moral obligation, to stop shipping animals, including primates, to labs for use in harmful experiments.”

Says Animal Alliance director Liz White: “Air Canada has previously refused to ship animals for this purpose, and given the conclusions of our legal analysis and the suffering of the animals involved, we urge the airline to take immediate action to reinstate this policy.”

HSI Canada and the AAC submitted a copy of the legal opinion to Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu on July 8 requesting a response within 30 days. To date, no response has been received. The practice of breeding and shipping animals for use in laboratory experiments brings to light a number of animal welfare issues of concern to the Canadian public. HSI Canada and AAC are now asking their supporters to contact Air Canada to express their opposition to the shipment of animals to labs, and to urge the airline to cease its involvement in this practice.


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Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International—one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than 11 million members and constituents globally—On the Web at hsicanada.ca.

Animal Alliance of Canada is committed to the protection of the environment and the lives of all animals with whom we share our world. We work on local, national, and international educational and legislative advocacy initiatives, with our primary focus on achieving long-term animal and environmental protection through political action.—On the Web at animalalliance.ca.

Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW) is a Canadian Registered Charity dedicated to advancing public knowledge of animal practices and preventing the abuse and killing of animals through the enforcement of existing laws. For more information see: www.lawyersforanimalwelfare.com.

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