Animal rights group PETA urged its supporters Thursday to bombard Air China with emails urging it to stop transporting monkeys from Asia to laboratories in the United States.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Air China is one of only a few major air carriers that still transports primates from Asia "to their deaths in some of the cruelest laboratories in the United States."
Last year, 72 percent of the 18,000 primates imported into the United States for lab experiments came from China, Justin Goodman of PETA's laboratory investigations team told AFP.
Beijing-based Air China has been cited four times so far this year under US animal welfare laws over incidents in which lab-bound monkeys either ran away or suffered injuries resulting from hazardous enclosures, according to PETA.
"Some of the monkeys are bred in captivity on cramped, squalid factory farms, while others are stolen from their homes in the wild," it said in a draft email that supporters can send off to Air China management.
"The traumatized monkeys are crammed into small wooden crates and transported in the dark and terrifying cargo holds of planes, often on passenger flights just below unsuspecting customers."