Animal rights groups are applauding a ruling that supports Air Canada's refusal to transport primates being used for research.

Yesterday a tribunal of the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled the airline is within its rights to refuse to carry the animals.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Queen's University launched a complaint saying Air Canada's policy discriminated against them.

They argued it was less humane to transport the animals by slower means such as trucks.

Air Canada says it's received 47,000 letters from people complaining, some of whom threatened to stop travelling with the airline.

The tribunal says Air Canada has a legitimate concern of losing passengers.

Animal rights groups are applauding the ruling, saying Air Canada should be congratulated for refusing to be a party to what they call animal cruelty.

Liz White of the Animal Alliance of Canada says airlines play a major role in the chain of suffering endured by non-human primates and other animals in laboratories.