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Guidelines for the Humane Transportation of Research Animals
as for ensuring the safety and comfort of the animals. The committee identifies characteristics of a good shipper (Chapter 4) and also provides a checklist of factors to consider when arranging transportation of research animals between research facilities (Chapter 1).
The committee also examined the existing system for transporting research animals by truck in the United States (Appendix B). By combining information on the locations where research animals are utilized and the locations of the major research animal vendors and breeders in the United States, the committee was able to construct a geographic information system model. This hypothetical model provides a qualitative sense of the patterns of transportation of research animals. In addition, this section presents the results of a quantitative modeling effort to locate additional supply points “optimally” and an assessment of the potential benefit of the additional supply points.
Declining Availability of Air Transportation for Nonhuman Primates
Over the last 10-15 years, most foreign and domestic airlines have implemented a ban on transporting nonhuman primates destined for research. Many factors may have contributed to this decline, including concerns about zoonoses, the high cost of training personnel and acquiring protective equipment, the negative reactions of airline passengers, pressure from animal rights activists, and the unprofitable nature of live-animal transportation. Currently, only one domestic airline and five foreign airlines will consistently transport nonhuman primates. In the committee’s judgment, the most promising solution for ensuring a stable means of transporting nonhuman primates into and within the United States is for NIH, through the National Center for Research Resources, to update and implement the National Primate Plan. This plan could include several different actions to be pursued, including developing national nonhuman primate resources and ensuring financial allowances for costs associated with chartering private airplane transportation.
The committee also recommends that the National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs) and research institutions utilizing nonhuman primates work together to encourage the development of reliable ground transportation for nonhuman primates. Although ground transport of nonhuman primates does occur, it is not widespread, possibly due to economic constraints and because most ground transportation companies are geared toward the transportation of rodents and other small mammals. However, NPRCs and researcher institutions could prepare for the possibility that domestic transportation on commercial airlines may one day become