Monkeys die on flight from Cambodia to US research labs

Long-tailed macaque holding her babies by their legs
Long-tailed macaque with her babies, photo: nvelichko via Canva

An unknown number of long-tailed macaques died during a Wamos Air flight from Cambodia to research laboratories in the United States, British animal welfare organization Action for Primates reported. 

Together with animal welfare organizations One Voice and Stop Camarles, Action for Primates calls on Spanish airline Wamos Air to stop transporting monkeys for research laboratories. According to them, Wamos Air has been transporting thousands of monkeys to the US for research.

Last week Sunday, Wamos Air transported 720 long-tailed macaques as cargo from Cambodia (PNH) to Houston (IAH), Action for Primates said.

The monkeys remained in small transit crates for 24 hours of flying time, with an additional six-hour stop-over in Tbilisi, Georgia. Several monkeys died during the flight. The exact number of deaths and how they died is unknown.

“This tragedy exposes the shocking reality of the suffering inherent in the transportation of these intelligent and sentient beings,” Sarah Kite, co-founder of Action for Primates, said in a statement

She said that transporting the animals in small crates, away from familiar surroundings, caused considerable physical and psychological suffering. The animal rights organizations want Wamos Air to join the list of airlines that refuse to transport monkeys for research.

The US is one of the world’s largest importers and users of long-tailed macaques for research, Action for Primates said. US imports of long-tailed macaques from Cambodia increased by 82.8% –from 8,571 in 2019 to 15,664 in 2020. 

During air transportation, monkeys are kept in small transit crates in the cargo area of airplanes. They don’t get adequate ventilation, hear unfamiliar loud noises and have to deal with temperature and humidity fluctuations.

A petition asking Wamos Air to stop transporting monkeys for research has been signed almost 3000 times.

The Animal Reader asked Wamos Air and international laboratory animal supplier Envigo, who supposedly ordered the long-tailed macaques from Cambodia, to comment, but hadn’t gotten a response at the time of publishing this article.

The Animal Reader is a small, independent news platform with daily posts about issues affecting animals.

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