PETA to Hainan Airlines: Don’t Ship Monkeys to Labs

Update (August 24, 2022): When is shipping monkeys for use in laboratories both cruel and illegal?

PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, calling for an urgent investigation after we confirmed that the USDA had canceled Hainan Airline’s registration in May, making the company’s recent shipment of endangered long-tailed macaques (details below) an apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

According to a whistleblower report, the monkeys were destined for a facility operated by Envigo Global Services Inc. in Alice, Texas. Envigo has repeatedly shown that it values profits over animal welfare. Following PETA’s undercover investigation into Envigo’s beagle-breeding facility in Virginia last year, the USDA cited the company for 48 violations of the AWA, and a U.S. Department of Justice civil case led Envigo to announce that it would shut down the facility. In 2019, the USDA also cited Envigo’s Texas facility with a critical violation of the AWA for failing to provide 25 monkeys with food for six days. Envigo had to euthanize two of them because they were so severely starved.

“Whether you’re talking about beagles or monkeys, Envigo can’t be trusted to take care of animals or to safeguard public health. Monkeys brought in from squalid farms in Asia endure terrifying, grueling journeys and can harbor everything from Ebola to malaria. If an airline can’t be bothered to do the minimum of registering itself as required and Envigo doesn’t ensure that the carrier is legitimate, we have to ask whether they’re following any of the protocols required for public safety.”

—PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel

Please take action below to urge Hainan Airlines to get out of this sordid business.


Chinese air carrier Hainan Airlines—which banned shipping monkeys to the U.S. a decade ago after discussions with PETA—has recently gone back on its word and shipped hundreds of monkeys to their deaths in U.S. laboratories. Let it know that its participation in the global monkey exploitation pipeline is unacceptable.

shipping primates for expriments
On August 9, Hainan Airlines shipped 720 sensitive, endangered long-tailed macaques—who were crammed into 144 wooden crates—from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to Beijing, China, (a 4.5-hour trip) and then to Chicago (a 13-hour flight). The monkeys were forced to sit in their own feces, urine, and blood and were terrified of what they might face next.

After arriving in Chicago, they were presumably packed into trucks and eventually taken to their final destination: a laboratory where they’ll be used for experimentation, facing torment and pain.

PETA U.S. has contacted Hainan’s executives to ask them to reconsider their involvement in this cruel industry and stop shipping monkeys to laboratories immediately. No ethical company should want its name to be associated with this vile and sordid trade.

EGYPTAIR, for instance, recently announced that it would stop transporting monkeys to laboratories, following three months of vigorous campaigning by PETA entities worldwide, including protests in Frankfurt, London, Manila, New York City, Paris, and Washington, D.C. Other organizations—including Action for Primates in the U.K., Stop Camarles in Spain, and One Voice in France—also campaigned to end the shipments.

Hainan Airlines: Stop Sending Monkeys to Laboratories!
While PETA U.S., our supporters, and the public have persuaded nearly every major airline in the world to stop transporting monkeys to laboratories, Hainan seems determined to continue this cruel trade with its shameful about-face in policy. In 2012 and again in 2013, its executives pledged to PETA that it would no longer ship monkeys destined for U.S. laboratories, adding that they “fully agree to the fundamental purposes of PETA and appreciate your great effort in the protection of animal rights.”

Every year, thousands of monkeys are transported to the U.S. to be imprisoned in laboratories and tormented in experiments in which they’re often cut open, poisoned, crippled, addicted to drugs, shocked, and killed. These sensitive individuals are bred in captivity on squalid factory farms. Their parents and grandparents were torn away from their families and homes in the wild and traumatized again when their own babies were snatched away from them on the breeding farms. The monkeys are crammed into small wooden crates and transported in the dark and terrifying cargo holds of planes. Once they arrive in the U.S., they wait in fear until they’re loaded into trucks and transported to infamous facilities like Covance (now part of Envigo).

Like all other primates, monkeys are highly social animals who live in tight-knit groups and use vocalizations, body language, and facial expressions to communicate with each other. In laboratories, they’re deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them.

Please urge Hainan Airlines to keep its promise and not send monkeys to laboratories or be involved in this cruel industry in any other way. The airline should stick by its word and join other industry leaders in prohibiting shipments of primates destined for laboratories and laboratory suppliers.

Please send polite comments to:

Zhu Tao
President, Hainan Airlines
[email protected]

Amy Fu
Cargo Manager US Region, Hainan Airlines
[email protected]

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind