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Guidelines for the Humane Transportation of Research Animals
pare for the eventuality that all nonhuman primates may have to be transported into the US by private charter. To prevent the financial impact of private charters from restricting research involving nonhuman primates, it is imperative for agencies that fund research using nonhuman primates to ensure that allowances are made for the increased costs associated with private chartering.
In some ways, the domestic air transportation system is more likely to reach a crisis point because currently only one domestic airline will transport nonhuman primates within the United States. A similar situation arose several years ago, when US airlines refused to carry day-old chicks and adult avian species via airmail transport. As a result, Congress enacted Public Law 107-67, the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 2002. Section 651 of this law amended Section 5402(c) of Title 39 so that “the Postal Service may require any air carrier to accept as mail shipments of day-old poultry and such other live animals as postal regulations allow to be transmitted as mail matter.” While legislative action by Congress would virtually eliminate the domestic air transportation problem, that solution is perhaps the least likely to occur, and the committee felt it imperative to provide other pathways to improve the transportation of nonhuman primates.
Some individuals in the academic research community believe that the NPRC breeding colonies will eventually be able to meet the domestic need for nonhuman primates, eliminating the need to transport non-human primates into the United States in large numbers. The source of this assumption is the National Primate Plan (DHEW, 1978). The National Primate Plan was published in 1978 by the Interagency Primate Steering Committee, which included representatives from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, Veterans Administration, and Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The National Primate Plan was developed to ensure adequate supplies of primates to meet research needs by coordinating the various federal program activities. One of the recommendations of the National Primate Plan was that domestic primate production be sufficiently expanded to ensure a continuous, stable, and long-term supply of primates and that domestic production must provide for all of the nation’s need for commonly used species, specifically rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. At the time, the Plan’s authors estimated that domestic production was fulfilling about 50% of the domestic need. Since 1980, imported nonhuman primates have comprised, on average, 26% of the nonhuman primates used in research. However, the percentage of nonhuman primates used in research that are imported has steadily increased over the last seven years and, in 2004, imported nonhuman primates comprised 35% of nonhuman primates used in