LONDON – An air cargo shipment apparently carrying 360 endangered long-tailed macaque monkeys from Cambodia to Houston has led animal welfare group PETA to file a lawsuit against the carrier, AELF FlightService.
Maleth Aero, a global operator of ACMI widebody aircraft and cargo services was acquired by AELF FlightService LLC in 2021.
PETA says the plane operator allegedly transported the monkeys despite not having a carrier registration with the USDA, which is a clear violation of federal animal welfare law. animals (AWA).
Second illegal shipment in 2 months
This becomes the second airline in as many months that appears to be flying monkeys illegally into the United States, without the proper carrier registration.
In both cases, the shipment of endangered monkeys was destined for a notorious monkey facility in Alice, Texas. PETA has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for an urgent investigation. Regarding air shipment, the body of PETA’s complaint states:
“PETA has received a whistleblower report that on September 1, Maleth Aero shipped 360 long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) – now recognized as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. nature – at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.”
“The monkeys were reportedly packed in wooden boxes and flown on the airline’s Airbus A330-200 from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to Tbilisi, Georgia (flight DB1005, an eight-hour trip with a layover more than seven hours due to a flight delay) and then to Houston (flight DB1005, a 14-hour flight).
“There were also two other recent Maleth Aero flights suspected of carrying primates, which we urge the USDA to investigate,”
“Flight DB1003 on August 29 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, and flight DB1001 on August 25 from Phnom Penh to Dulles International Airport.”
Incident last month
In the previous incident reported last month, Hainan Airlines allegedly illegally shipped 720 monkeys to another facility in Alice in August, even though the USDA deregistered the airline in May, making the shipment another apparent violation of the AWA.
Long-tailed macaques are now recognized as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, largely due to their trapping and exploitation in the international wildlife trade towards American laboratories.
Many are imported from unsanitary farms in Asia and can harbor infectious zoonotic diseases.
Statement from PETA management
“Hundreds of terrified and endangered monkeys were stuffed into wooden boxes and forced to endure a long and arduous journey, ending up in a laboratory. These monkeys will never return to the forests of Asia,” says Kathy Guillermo, Senior Vice President of PETA. “AELF FlightService is not above the law, and PETA is asking the USDA to investigate the suspicious monkey shipments reported by this company, to everybody Sake.”
PETA is also asking the USDA to investigate AELF FlightService for possibly illegally transporting monkeys on flights in August from Vietnam and Cambodia to Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C.