El Al Airlines has changed its policy and will stop transporting animals for experiments abroad, Ynet has learned.
"El Al has recently decided to stop transporting animals for vivisection purposes," the airline said in a statement.
The policy change may have stemmed from increased public pressure. Over the past few weeks, animal rights activists have protested outside El Al's Tel Aviv office, demanding that it stop flying primates that had been bred at the Mazor Farm for experimentation at research centers and universities overseas.
Channel 10 recently exposed shipping bills indicating that El Al had transported primates in 2009. El Al officials denied the report, saying the airline had not transported primates for experimentation purposes last year.
Anat Refua, head of the Behind Closed Doors anti-vivisection organization, welcomed El Al's "moral and courageous" decision to "get out of the evil cycle of animal trade for experimentation.
"We hope El Al's decision will prompt Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to ban the issuing of trade permits for the Mazor Farm," she said.
Attorneys for BFC ("Mazor") Farm told Ynet that "following a Tel Aviv District Court ruling of 2002, El-Al was obligated to fly the farm's exports of test monkeys from Israel.
"Following the publication in Ynet a letter was sent to El-Al by Attorney Robert Fishman, demanding that it issues a retracement and announce it would continue flying the Farm's monkeys.
"The publication has already harmed my client and may cause it further considerable damage. My client holds El-Al fully responsible for any direct damage to it, or any third party, which may amount to millions of dollars."
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