PROTESTORS have slammed Manchester Airport for allowing ‘shameful cargos’ of monkeys to be imported for research laboratories.

Animal rights activists plan to mount a peaceful demonstration today, Saturday, August 20, to mark 1,000 long-tailed macques being flown in since January.

The protest is set to take place at Sunbank Lane off Ringway.

Event organiser Jane Smith, deputy leader of the Animal Welfare Party, said: “These transports are unspeakably cruel.

“Confinement like this, coupled with atmospheric pressure and long journey times, are very distressing for live animals.

Knutsford Guardian: Activists say the journey is 'very distressing' for the monkeysActivists say the journey is 'very distressing' for the monkeys

“Once they reach Manchester, they then endure long journeys by road to their end destinations in research laboratories.

“They can be used to test everything from weapons to household products and toiletries.

“There are perfectly good alternatives to animal testing, and there’s no excuse for this appalling trade in lives.”

Activists say live animals, including monkeys and dogs, are regularly flown into Manchester Airport before onward journeys by road to vivisection laboratories across the country.

Protestors submitted a 1,000-signature petition to Manchester Airports Group, the airport’s owners, asking them to end the cargoes but did not receive a reply.

Jane said: “People feel very strongly about this issue and yet the airport won’t engage with us.

“We won’t give up on these animals and we won’t stop our protests until the airport stops these shameful cargoes.”

The protest is being staged by the Animal Welfare Party and Cheshire Animal Rights Campaign.

The demonstration is supported by Action For Primates, whose co-founder Sarah Kite said: "It is shameful that the UK continues to import long-tailed macaques, including from Vietnam and Mauritius, with Manchester Airport the main initial destination.

“Many of the monkeys are used in toxicity testing in contract research laboratories, the deliberate poisoning of the monkeys to assess the adverse effects of increasing amounts of a chemical or drug.

“The animals are forcibly restrained and the test substance given by injection, infusion through a stomach tube forced through their mouth or by forced inhalation.

“The suffering caused to the monkeys is immense and can cause them serious harm or death.

“All surviving monkeys are killed.

“We urge Manchester Airport to re-consider its role in facilitating this cruel trade and urge it to ban monkey shipments.''

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We are aware of a protest due to take place at the airport.

"We respect peoples’ right to peaceful protest and will work closely with Greater Manchester Police to minimise any impact on travelling passengers and ensure the safety of all concerned.”