Investigation on air transport of laboratory animals

We are requesting that Air France, one of the only remaining airlines that still transport laboratory animals, stop this outrageous activity!

Investigation on air transport of laboratory animals

On the occasion of World Day for Laboratory Animals on 24th April, we uncover this investigation from an unprecedented infiltration into Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. 

Animal Testing is a non-profit organization based in France that investigates the use of animals in experimentation. We aim to denounce the suffering of laboratory animals. In the past, we have unveiled the living conditions of dogs used in experiments funded by the AFM-Telethon, those of monkeys experimented on in the basement of a Parisian hospital, and the testimony of a laboratory whistleblower on the abuse of rodents. Today we reveal how animals are being shipped as cargo before reaching laboratories and becoming experimental subjects. 

We are requesting that Air France, one of the only remaining airlines that still transport laboratory animals, stop this outrageous activity!

Contrary to widespread belief, the suffering of laboratory animals does not, unfortunately, start at the lab. It begins well before when animals are transported from the breeding farms to the laboratories.

Animal Testing infiltrated the veterinary department in charge of receiving animals for laboratories at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. The transit of laboratory animals in Paris is based exclusively on this airport. We also had access to all the Common Veterinary Entry Documents (CVED), which enabled us to know where the animals came from, the importers, and their final destinations.

Thanks to our undercover investigation, we managed to get photos of the animals during their stopover at the airport.

Taking into account how difficult it is to obtain such images, we had to wait before publishing them to guarantee the anonymity and protection of the whistleblower. We hope you’ll understand the prudence we had to use. Neither legal regulations nor daily practices have changed since these pictures were taken.

This undercover investigation allows us to shed light on several facts:

  • The journey turns out to be exceptionally long for the animals, and France is sometimes only a stopover before they reach their final destinations in other countries. For example, a box was originating from Mauritius and bound to Charles River laboratory in Houston, Texas. Most animals are bound to labs in Europe and the United States.
  • Monkeys often come from Mauritius, Vietnam, and China. They are being shipped to major international laboratories in the United States (including Charles River, Envigo, Covance), Germany, or research centers in France, such as Silabe (Strasbourg), CEA (Fontenay-aux-Roses), or Citoxlab (Evreux). 
  • Air France is the only airline shipping monkeys.
  • Despite the legality of this practice, the well-being of the animals is not guaranteed. As witnessed on one of the photos, a monkey had, unfortunately, died during transport.
  • Various species of fish, reptiles, and horses are also sent to laboratories. Transport conditions are particularly difficult for them too. As shown on the pictures, the fish are put in shallow water, the snakes in tiny boxes and horses hurt themselves because of the crowded living environment and the anxiety caused by the transport.

The duration of the journey is a significant stress factor for these animals who are locked down in cages, bags, or boxes.

Most importantly, these findings shed light on how these air carriers are an integral part of the animal experimentation system. Shipping animals to the labs is a profitable activity for these airlines!

In light of these images, we are asking Air France to stop the transport of animals to laboratories. Moreover, this activity is extremely harmful to the brand image.