Air France to continue transporting lab monkeys22 may 2015, 14:18
Air France will continue to transport live monkeys for laboratory testing, the airline's CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at an Air-France-KLM shareholders' meeting held as animal rights activists protested nearby, AFP reports.
Juniac, who was re-elected by shareholders to remain at the helm of the French-Dutch company, said in response to an activist's question that the airline would defend the practice as long as it served the interests of science.
At the protest some of the around 30 activists donned monkey costumes and locked themselves up in a cage.
Challenged on the issue by a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Juniac said his company has sought advice from experts who believe "experimenting on primates with a similar genetic ancestry to human beings is indispensable" to research.
"So long as medical research for the improvement of human health requires these experiments, we will continue to transport them," he lashed out.
Juniac also said Air France applies relevant regulations and ensures the animals are well treated.
Animal rights activists say Air France is one of the world's only airlines to ship animals destined for laboratory testing.
"We now know that alternative methods (of research) are the quickest, most certain and efficient, and Air France must really open its eyes and listen to the growing movement," said PETA France spokeswoman Isabelle Goetz.
"When passengers take an Air France flight, they cannot imagine that just a few metres beneath their feet... monkeys are locked up in wooden boxes, terrified, in the dark, and sent on flights that can be as long as 30 hours," she added.