Context: Air Canada and United Airlines have recently announced they will no longer transport non human primates used for research. Many neuroscience researchers, studying to understand and find cures for important diseases such as schizophrenia or Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, will be affected by this decision. Alternative ways of transport, by land or sea, are more taxing on animals. Animal research is important and closely regulated in Canada – Learn more about it on the CCAC website.
Posted below is a letter you could copy/paste and send to the President of Air Canada, Mr. Calin Rovinescu. You should consider personalizing your letter by indicating whether you are a researcher, a person who flies with Air Canada on a regular basis, a member of their rewards program, a person who benefits from medical research innovations, a physician who sees the benefits of research in your practice, or any other information you may find relevant. Make sure to sign your full name and to include complete contact information.
You may also wish to visit the SfN’s legislative action center to send a letter to the CEO of United Continental.
To: Mr. Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada
Dear Mr. Rovinescu,
I was troubled to learn that Air Canada has recently decided to halt transport of non-human primates for use in biomedical research. I urge you to reconsider this position, as animal models, including non-human primates, are essential to advancing our understanding of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that could lead to treatments and cures of these devastating conditions. Misinformation, spread by “animal rights” extremists, threatens to hinder research efforts, and must not be allowed to affect policy making in important Canadian companies such as yours.
The significant role that animal models play in lifesaving research is undeniable. Almost every major medical advance in the last century was made possible by carefully regulated, humane animal research. In Canada, the Canadian Council on Animal Care is responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the ethical use and care of animals in science in Canada, and institutions review all animal research to ensure the protection of the welfare of animals used for research purposes. Studies using animal models follows strict ethical guidelines. Airline transportation, provided by companies such as yours, ensures that laboratory animals are available for lifesaving biomedical research in universities, hospitals and research centers.
Highly vocal animal rights extremists are attempting to halt all research which involves animal models, and to sway public opinion in their direction. These people represent a very small number of individuals, much less than the millions who are dependent on the discoveries brought about by humane, well-regulated animal research – not to mention the tens of thousands of scientists who rely on air travel to attend scientific conferences and to conduct their research.
I hope that your personal commitment to advancing science, exemplified by your recent membership in the McGill University Health Research Center Board of Directors, will be reflected in policies at Air Canada that will allow important scientific research to move forward.
Name (First and Last)
Contact information: Email, Full mailing address.