UPDATE: On Valentine’s Day 2011, Amerijet ended their involvement in the primate trade with these words, “Amerijet has ceased transporting primates for any and all purposes.”
Original post at New Times
by Michael J. Mooney
Amerijet, the international cargo shipping corporation headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, is one of the few airlines that still transports research primates, specifically the ones used for controversial vivisection experiments. The company has done business with Primate Products, the South Florida-based research facility where several monkeys were photographed with severe — possibly fatal — injuries earlier this year.
Now a local animal rights group is asking Amerijet to stop shipping primates. The organization, SMASH HLS, wrote an open letter to Amerijet executives and plan to demonstrate outside the company headquarters on Andrews Avenue later today. They also encourage supporters to call Amerijet and ask executives personally to change their ways.
“This year, Amerijet has shipped everything from paint to batteries to toilets,” the letter reads, in part. “But unlike most of Amerijet’s cargo, transporting monkeys comes with many associated problems. For example, a delayed or re-routed flight can mean death for animals. We know that monkeys have died on past flights from Saint Kitts. Also, the added government scrutiny– CITES certificates, USFWS inspectors, CDC representatives– can’t be fun to deal with… Any way you look at it, transporting monkeys is a losing business. Does Amerijet really want to be the last American airline to fly monkeys for the research industry?”
Animal rights advocates say they will not stop protesting until the company stops moving monkeys.
“These unfortunate animals are destined to be used in painful experiments during which most will die,” said Gary Serignese, who organized today’s protest. “The bottom line is very simple, Amerijet does not need to be involved in the sick transport of primates. And so long as they are, they will remain a legitimate target of protest for SMASH HLS and others globally. I trust they will soon make the compassionate choice and stop the monkey flights.”