UPS, FedEx & DHL join the growing list of cargo carriers that refuse to transport animals to labs for experimentation!

More wonderful news this week! Three top cargo shipping companies have joined the still growing list of carriers that refuse to transport any animals to be burned, blinded, poisoned, and cut up alive in laboratories! After talks with PETA, UPS adopted a worldwide ban on transporting animals destined for laboratory experiments. FedEx and DHL have also confirmed to PETA that they have policies in place that ban the shipment of live animals to laboratories.

If you are wondering how big a deal this is, FedEx and UPS are the world's top two largest cargo airlines. DHL is close behind. They have now joined the majority of major airlines—including Cathay Pacific, Korean Airlines, Qantas, Air India and others that won't transport any animals destined for experiments. German Airlines, Lufthansa, no longer ships dogs or cats for laboratory experiments but still ships rodents, primates and amphibians,etc.

PETA is systematically approaching every major cargo carrier in the world, putting pressure on both international and domestic shipments. For researchers who rely on lab animals shipped from distant sources, and for the companies that breed them, the options are narrowing considerably now.

 FedEx, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee, says that its commitment not to ship animals reflects a policy that is at least five years old. According to Shea Leordeanu, manager of global public relations “There was an active decision made that, especially here in the United States, that’s just not how we wanted to do business."

Also many large passenger carriers will no longer transport non-human primates after being confronted by PETA and other animal activist groups. Air Canada has also petitioned the Canadian Transportation Agency for permission to stop the practice. Currently, United Airlines and Air France are among the few that have not ruled out primate transport.

Some in the scientific community scoff at the news saying that it will have little impact on their research. For example those who study mammals, say that FedEx and UPS have not been used to ship non-human primates internationally. Also in the United States, many other lab animals are domestically bred and shipped by truck. Charles Hewett, executive vice-president and chief operating officer at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine says he finds it “troubling that the corporate leaderships of UPS, FedEx and others yield to the pressure of a small minority who overlook the importance of what we do for preventing, curing and treating human disease.”

Although these critics infer that the FedEx, UPS and DHL announcements may be largely symbolic, the major point behind these recent developments suggest that research advocates are failing to make the case for the continued use of lab animals. This brings success for groups such as PETA.

However, animals will not be safe from being caged, neglected, and tortured as long as even one airline, truck or boat agrees to deliver them into experimenter's hands. So PETA is now extending its campaign to other species and to cargo carriers and they are putting pressure on non-air transport across international borders. Time will soon tell if this will be successful also. For the millions of research animals still transported this way, we hope it is.

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