Kenya Airways has announced it will not renew its contract with a Mauritius breeding farm to transport monkeys from the Indian Ocean Island to the United States (US) to be used in laboratory experiments.
Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph confirmed that the airline shipped the long-tailed Macaques from the island nation of Mauritius to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. From there, the monkeys were placed on a truck that later crashed on Route 54 near I-80 in rural Pennsylvania last Friday.
One of the monkeys was corralled at the scene. three others became the subjects of a lengthy search by Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which located and euthanized the animals last Saturday.
"As a conservationist, I am equally horrified even though I am assured that ... every international guideline has been followed," Joseph told People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - PETA in an email provided to PhillyVoice.
“We will not renew the contract that expires at the end of February,” Joseph told added.
A woman who was driving directly behind the truck and assisted at the scene became ill after she had close contact with monkey faeces and saliva. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention advised the woman to seek medical attention. She has since received a rabies vaccination and is on an antiviral medication.
Following the incident, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) US, an animal rights group, contacted Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kivuka and Mr Joseph, over the treatment of monkeys.
The US Department of Agriculture has launched an investigation into the incident amid protests from animal rights activists.
The monkeys have been in high demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic prompting larger investments in breeding the animals at American primate research facilities.