April 19, 2024

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Iceland’s Bluebird Nordic Has Shipped Endangered Monkeys, Threatening Global Health: PETA Statement

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For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Please see the following statement from PETA, Abolición Vivisección, Action for Primates, Cheshire Animal Rights Campaigns, Monkey Massacre in Mauritius and One Voice regarding the just-released investigative story from Kveikur, Iceland’s unintentional role in the global monkey trade, and reports from Icelandic officials that Bluebird Nordic has stopped shipping monkeys:

The extraordinary investigation into Bluebird Nordic just released by Kveikur has laid bare Iceland’s unintentional role in the global monkey trade, whose players are now under intense scrutiny for alleged trafficking. Bluebird has contributed to the decimation of the endangered long-tailed macaque species and has likely transported monkeys who were taken from their homes in nature and illegally passed off as having been bred in captivity.

The airline has also placed humans at risk. Animal rights groups Abolición Vivisección, Action for Primates, Cheshire Animal Rights Campaigns, Monkey Massacre in Mauritius, One Voice, and PETA, working together, first uncovered Bluebird Nordic’s role in the dangerous business of transporting monkeys. Since June 2023, the airline has transported thousands of endangered long-tailed macaques crammed in transit cages for dozens of hours from Cambodia, Mauritius, or Vietnam to be experimented on in laboratories in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Spain, or elsewhere in Europe. In July 2023, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted public health veterinarians and U.S. primate importers that monkeys were arriving in the U.S. with four different types of mycobacteria that could cause tuberculosis in humans and other animals. Laboratory workers in the U.S. have required treatment after being exposed to monkeys infected with the disease.

If Bluebird Nordic continues to fly monkeys in its cargo holds, it’s only a matter of time before they spread pathogens around the globe. The airline needs to get out of this business immediately, if it hasn’t done so already, and the entire primate experimentation industry needs to shift to modern, animal-free research methods. Bluebird reportedly told Icelandic officials that the company’s final flight carrying macaques from Mauritius to Europe and the U.S. was in February 2024. PETA wrote to the company to confirm that it has ended the monkey business but has yet to receive a response.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.


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