After a long-fought campaign by animal advocates, major state-owned carrier China Southern Airlines paid a fine brought by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The $11,600 fine was levied back in January for several issues, including transporting over 1,000 lab primates without proper registration.
The news comes after the airline announced in March that it would no longer transport lab monkeys to laboratories in the United States, caving to pressure from animal welfare supporters including PETA.
A USDA spokesperson told the New York Times, the airline paid the fine on Thursday and waived its right to a hearing.
"The fact that they knew they were about to be penalized by the U.S. government might have contributed to the fact that they realized this is an embarrassing and shameful thing and we should just distance ourselves from it," Justin Goodman, PETA's director of laboratory investigations department, told NYT.
In May 2012, the USDA accused China Southern of killing 17 monkeys during a transport in 2008, by failing to feed and hydrate them properly. In that case, China Southern settled for a fine of $14,438, according to the USDA.