An international animal rights activist is planning to protest outside the Dubai office of Air France to demand the airline stop shipping monkeys for medical research.
Persons for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims the airline carries the monkeys in cramped wooden crates inside dark cargo holds for nearly 30 hours before they reach research laboratories in the US and Europe, “where they are imprisoned in tiny cages, cut into, poisoned, crippled, addicted to drugs, shocked and killed”.
The primates have been taken from either monkey farms in Africa or Asia or from the wild, PETA said.
Air France has staunchly defended its involvement in what it claims is a "highly supervised activity", saying it was vital to research and medicine in France and throughout Europe.
The European Animal Research Association (EARA) also has endorsed the airline's stance and last month told The Guardian it was "an embarrassment to UK life sciences that British Airways and Virgin (Atlantic) will not transport animals for medical research".
Air France is the only international airline in the world that continues to transport primates for experimentation, according to PETA.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline and UAE flag carrier Etihad have banned the practice, according to the organisation.
"By shipping monkeys for experimentation, Air France is every bit as responsible for the pain, suffering and death that these animals are subjected to as the experimenters who wield the syringes, drills and scalpels," PETA Asia campaigner Ashley Fruno said.
"Air France should let animal abusers know that cruelty doesn't fly by joining every other major airline in banning shipments of primates to laboratories."
Last month, world-renowned primate expert Dr Jane Goodall and musician Peter Gabriel joined a list of celebrities calling for Air France to end its involvement in the trade.
A PETA activist will protest outside the Air France office in Deira on Wednesday from 11.30am.