Kudos to Air Canada for no longer participating in this heinous practice! Unfortunately, the horrible shipments are still proceeding with a different carrier. Beatrice and I look forward to the day when no Beagles are sacrificed to medical research.
Thanks to Liz Marshall for barking in this article from The Gazette.
Beagle shipments stopped After protests from Air Canada passengers
The Gazette Published: Monday, June 11, 2007
Air Canada has stopped shipments of beagles for medical research to Europe after protests from its passengers.
It turns out the airline’s May 21 cargo of 70 to 100 beagles from Montreal to Paris was the last of shipments that had been taking place for a number of years.
That May 21 shipment led to complaints from passengers on the flight to The Gazette. The passengers said they heard the dogs yelping in the cargo hold during take-off and landing, and then saw them being unloaded in Paris.
They were told by flight attendants that the shipment of dogs from Montreal to Paris for medical and scientific experiments happens regularly, the passengers told The Gazette.
Air Canada spokesperson Isabelle Arthur confirmed yesterday that following the publication of the story on May 29, the airline received a formal complaint about the shipments.
“It’s the first time we received formal complaints from passengers on any of those flights,” Arthur said .
The Gazette has learned that Marshall BioResources, a company that breeds beagles for biomedical research in North Rose, N.Y. between Syracuse and Rochester was supplying the dogs.
A retired Air Canada employee who worked for years on the cargo tarmac said the dogs would arrive in clean, air-conditioned trucks before being unloaded onto pallets, where they were weighed before boarding.
“If it was too hot we would turn them around and send them back down to the U.S.,” the former worker said.
Arthur explained that Air Canada policy permits it to stop any shipment if the cargo disturbs passengers. .
As a result of the recent complaint, “We advised the shipper that we would no longer be accepting their cargo.”
An employee at Marshall BioResources which, according to its website, also breeds mongrel dogs, ferrets and “mini-pigs” declined to comment on the shipments to Montreal yesterday.
“The Marshall Beagle is known worldwide as a premier canine model for safety assessment studies,” the website says.
“Our proprietary socialization process yields a dog that is active and happy while in the cage, comes willingly to the front when approached, and is calm and pleasant when handled.”
Beagles are flown to facilities in Europe and Asia to ensure genetic consistency, the company says. “We now offer our European customers the option of domestically produced beagles as well as importation from New York.”
Spokespeople for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were mystified about why Marshall’s dogs go to Europe via Canada.
“We don’t regulate domestic animals leaving the U.S.,” said a representative of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Only endangered animals and exotic animals are controlled, she said.
As for Marshall’s Canadian pipeline, it has only been re-routed, said another source at Air Canada, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Marshall has already found another air carrier departing from another Canadian city, possibly Toronto, the source said.
Alain Lajoie, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said Marshall has had a permit from the agency for several years to bring beagles through border points at Lacolle or Brockville, Ont., for transit to Montreal and then shipment to a third country.
“They come from an approved kennel and they all have their rabies shots,” Lajoie said.
The permit can be reassigned to another port of exit in Canada within five working days, he said.
Caring about the dogs’ ultimate purpose “is not in our mandate,” he said.
Animal-rights activists said Air Canada’s decision was not a victory for them since the dogs will still end up in labs, part of a legal trade that is beyond the reach of most animal-cruelty laws because it is for medical research.
But “because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not wrong,” said Michael O’Sullivan, executive director of the Humane Society of Canada.