The announcement by Air France, that the airline intends to end the transportation of non-human primates (monkeys), adds to the current crisis that threatens their future use for biomedical research in Europe.
The ending of this vital supply of primates for biomedical research is part of a perfect storm for the European biomedical sector, which includes a ban on the export of research monkeys by China and a forthcoming restriction by the European Commission on the biomedical use of first generation primates expected at the end of this year. This also follows a proposal by the Dutch government to reduce the use of monkeys in research by 40%.
All these actions are highly likely to severely limit the progress that can be made in both fundamental research and the development of innovative medicines and treatments for life-threatening diseases and infectious disease control.
EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: Air France played a vital and life-saving role in the supply chain of non-human primates for global research that are essential for drug, vaccine, and therapeutic developments for human health.
“In the accelerated effort to develop Covid-19 vaccines, monkeys played a critical role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of all the successful vaccines that are now in widespread use.
“On behalf of the research sector and the millions of citizens who have benefited from research, facilitated by Air France's transport of monkeys, we thank the airline for its past support.”
The European Animal Research Association (EARA) is an organisation that communicates and advocates on biomedical research using animals and provides accurate, evidence-based information. It has 135 partner organisations, including private and public research bodies, universities, regional and national biomedical associations and suppliers, across 21 European countries.
EARA’s vision is to enhance the understanding and recognition of research involving animals across Europe, allowing for a more constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a more efficient climate for research in Europe www.eara.eu