EXPOSED: EGYPTAIR Quietly Reverses Ban on Monkey Shipments, Flouts Disease Fears

For Immediate Release:
August 11, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

New York

PETA has just learned that EGYPTAIR shipped approximately 500 endangered long-tailed macaques from Mauritius to John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday for use in experiments, despite recent commitments that it would no longer transport monkeys to laboratories and concerns about the spread of disease.

In response, via a letter sent today, PETA, Action for Primates, One Voice, and Abolición Vivisección urged EGYPTAIR Holding Company CEO Yehia Zakaria to honor the company’s promises. The organizations are also renewing their campaigns against the airline.

“Soon after EGYPTAIR pledged not to ship monkeys to their deaths in laboratories, the airline is back to propping up the wildlife trade in an endangered species ,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “PETA is urging this airline to honor its commitments and permanently end its participation in the cruel monkey trade steeped in zoonotic disease risk or face public ire.”

Earlier this year, primate importers claimed that authorities had plugged the monkey-abduction pipeline following civil and criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as indictments of people involved in the alleged illegal smuggling of endangered long-tailed macaques from Southeast Asia. However, newly obtained records from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reveal that the deadly and likely corrupt pipeline began flowing from Mauritius within a few months—and EGYPTAIR has apparently wasted no time in getting back into this horrific trade. It also appears that the suspension of primate importation from Cambodia remains in place.

The macaque wildlife trade is steeped in violence and disease. Typically, the monkeys are captured in nature or bred on squalid farms, and those who survive illness and injury are packed into small wooden crates and locked inside EGYPTAIR’s dark cargo holds on the first part of their days-long journey to their final destination—laboratories where they’ll be poisoned, mutilated, and killed. This industry also poses a danger to the public: As PETA points out in its letter, the farm from which the transported monkeys reportedly originated has been in the midst of an outbreak of tuberculosis, a highly infectious mycobacterial disease that monkeys can and have transmitted to humans.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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