For Immediate Release:
12 March 2013
Plea Comes in Wake of Airline’s Backtracking on Promise to End Transport of Animals Marked for Death
Washington – US-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) – an organisation consisting of more than 10,000 physicians and 140,000 other medical professionals, scientists, educators and laypersons – has sent a letter to Air India (AI) Chair and Managing Director Rohit Nandan urging him to immediately reinstate the company’s ban on transporting animals bound for laboratories. The ban was enacted following repeated requests and protests by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. But bowing to experimentation-industry pressure, AI recently announced that it has resumed shipping animals – who can include dogs, cats and rabbits – to laboratories, where they are caged, poisoned, cut open and killed.
“This backward step is primarily the result of lobbying from individuals in the scientific community who have abused their authority to mislead your company into believing that experimenting on animals is needed for medical progress. In fact, this is a cruel and dangerous myth”, writes PCRM Director of Academic Research Dr John J Pippin. “Results from research on animals cannot reliably be extrapolated to humans …. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that more than 90 percent of drugs tested in people after successful animal tests are not approved for marketing because they don’t work or they are unsafe.” Pippin goes on to point out the many humane, cost-effective and more reliable ways to answer human health questions and conduct scientific research. They include studies of human populations, clinical and test-tube research, computer models, human-cell and tissue cultures and stem-cell methods.
AI’s policy reversal places the airline in the minority. FedEx, UPS, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and EVA Air – five of the biggest cargo carriers in the world – all refuse to ship animals to laboratories. Jet Airways, India’s second-largest airline and AI’s chief competitor, recently committed to a ban on transporting animals slated for experimentation.