(MONKEYS/ANIMAL TESTING) This week marks the 35th annual Lab Animal Week. Organized by National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), this week is designated to shed light on the unnecessary suffering of animals used for experimentation.

This year, celebrity activists are participating in this week of awareness by saying “Non!” to Air France—the last major passenger airline that continues to inhumanely ship monkeys to cruel animal laboratories.

In the UK, monkeys are mainly used for drug testing, but before the cruel testing begins, the monkeys are separated from their mothers, and shipped away in small, unfit crates.

Continue reading below for more on how to do your part for Lab Animal Week, and click here to add the NON! Twibbon to your profile picture to help urge Air France to end the cruel transportation of primates to research labs. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Animal Defenders International
In 2012, the number of monkeys experimented on in the UK rose by almost 50 percent. Photo Credit: Animal Defenders International

National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS)

Celebrities will be saying ‘NON!’ to cruel Air France monkey shipments as part of a week of action organised by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) during its annual Lab Animal Week, which is now in its 35th year. Lab Animal Week runs from 21st-27th April and was founded by the NAVS to highlight the suffering of animals used for unreliable and unnecessary tests. Air France became the last remaining passenger airline shipping monkeys to laboratories when China Southern Airlines updated its policy earlier this year.

NAVS Chief Executive, Jan Creamer:

“Air France is the only major passenger airline that continues to support the cruel lab monkey trade, flying thousands of monkeys to their deaths each year. Monkey experiments are cruel, unreliable and outdated. Please help monkeys this Lab Animal Week by refusing to fly with Air France and let them know why.”

In 2012, the number of monkeys experimented on in the UK rose by nearly 50% to over 2,000. In the same year, 1,500 monkeys were imported into the UK for experiments; two out of three came from Mauritius.

Before monkeys reach the laboratory, many are subjected to harsh conditions on breeding farms in Mauritius. The NAVS investigations have revealed how pregnant monkeys are manhandled and swung by their tails; newborn babies are torn from their mothers to be pinned down and tattooed for identification; animals are wrenched from cages by their tails and subjected to terrifying tests. The barren environment they are subjected to contrasts starkly with how the inquisitive and intelligent animals would live in the wild.

Dozens of monkeys have died at Charleston lab due to hypothermia. Photo Credit: ADI
In order to send monkeys to the laboratories, breeders lock them in crates only slightly bigger than the animals’ bodies. Photo Credit: ADI

When the time comes to send them to the laboratory, breeders lock the monkeys into crates barely bigger than their bodies. Long tailed macaques are known to deal poorly with stress and struggle to cope with the long journey, some die before they reach their destination.

In the UK, and despite the availability of advanced alternatives, monkeys are used mainly to test drugs, with animals typically enduring force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds; and immobilisation by being strapped into chairs. Investigations by the NAVS have found monkeys suffering rectal prolapse from the stress of being restrained, others suffered blackened lungs, trembling, collapse, bleeding and self-mutilation. The next largest area of primate use in the UK is neurology, which can involve electrodes and bolts being screwed into the monkeys’ heads.

There are a growing number of alternatives to using monkeys in experiments. These provide data based on likely effects in humans, rather than in monkeys, therefore avoiding the misleading results and past disasters when results from monkeys have been applied to humans.

Photo Credit: ADI
There are a number of more effective and humane alternatives to using monkeys in experiments. Photo Credit: ADI

Modern alternatives include: microdosing, where tiny amounts of new drugs are safely given to human volunteers and then blood samples analysed, proving to be more accurate at assessing the way a product is absorbed, broken down and passed through the body than primate models; biochips, which mimic human organs on USB-sized chips “providing comprehensive toxicity data very quickly and cheaply”, 3-D tissue engineering which mimics a complete human body system more accurately than animal models, and QSAR which predicts the toxicity of drugs through comparison with similar substances.

Members of the public can find out more and take part in the week of action against Air France at labanimalweek.org and on Twitter using #nonairfrance #labanimalweek.

More NAVS: https://www.navs.org/

TAKE ACTION: Urge Air France to end the cruel transportation of primates to research labs.