Universities sue El Al to carry lab monkeys

Petition states that over past year airline has begun to raise difficulties for institutions of higher education that request monkeys for research purposes.

By INBAL OMER/GLOBES
January 5, 2012 07:05
1 minute read.
El Al planes for Yom Haatzmaut

El Al planes for Yom Haatzmaut 311. (photo credit: Sivan Faraj)

Seven universities have petitioned the courts to order El Al Israel Airlines to fly laboratory animals, including monkeys, for biomedical trials. The universities are Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, University of Haifa and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The universities are protesting El Al’s decision to stop carrying laboratory animals for trials. The petition states that over the past year “El Al has begun to raise difficulties for institutions of higher education that request monkeys for research purposes. El Al has on several occasions refused to bring animals to Israel, and in an extreme case, even refused to carry a shipment of sea snails from California to Bar-Ilan University.

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“These trials are essential to save human lives, the development of pharmaceuticals and finding treatments for various diseases... They are critical for the development of compounds and vaccines for curing diseases, correcting flaws, fertility treatments, the prevention of epidemics and advancing surgical techniques.”

The universities said the trials were conducted in accordance with the law and with the full permits and supervision, similar to the prevailing laws in various countries. They said they were committed to the animals’ well-being, adding, “The use of test animals in Israel is relatively less than in the world, and the number of monkeys used in experiments is much less relative to the world.”

The universities said El Al does not have the right to put itself above the law.

“The legislature has already regulated the issue of animal experimentation, allowing research, and did not ban the import of monkeys for research,” the petition said.


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