AWI Quarterly » 2006 Fall

Photo donated by Bob Langrish
Fall 2006 Volume 55 Number 4
In early August, the tanker Solar I sank off the coast of Guimaras Island in the Philippines. The outflow of 50,000 gallons of oil engulfed over 125 miles of the once pristine coastline with a thick sludge, damaging more than 1,000 acres of mangrove forests and seaweed plantations, according to Guimaras Governor Joaquin Nava. Not only has this been deemed the worst oil spill in the Philippines history, but environmentalists have also called the tanker now resting on the seabed a "ticking time bomb."
In this day of multimedia, television and video games, the act of reading to a child can provide immeasurable benefits. Books with messages of compassion for animals can spark the inherent interest in animals all children seem to possess. Yet while Winnie the Pooh and Clifford the Big Red Dog will always be popular, there are innumerable lesser-known books that promote caring, respect and empathy for animals and the environment.
Promising "140,000 square miles of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to receive our nation's highest form of marine environmental protection," President Bush announced on June 15 the establishment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument. If properly enforced, this will provide a safeguard for the flora and fauna of the vast area for future generations.
"Quite early one morning," wrote the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, "I heard the cock's crow from hidden farmyards." For thousands of years, in innumerable cultures, the cock's crow has been synonymous with first light of morning. In the rural America of 50 years ago, the silver of a summer's dawn brought the crowing of roosters, from east to west, farm to farm, all across the heartland.
What do the Chinese, American trophy hunters, hunger, corruption and economic instability have in common? They are all causes of the decimation of Zimbabwe's wildlife heritage. Under the corrupt rule of President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's economy has been in a free fall, resulting in skyrocketing unemployment rates and increased hunger. Combined with the forced takeover of farms, wildlife conservancies and game ranches, bushmeat hunting, poaching and trophy hunting are quickly eradicating the country's wildlife populations.
At the Los Angeles International Airport in July, a man from Japan was arrested for attempting to illegally smuggle Queen Alexandra's birdwing butterflies—one of the largest butterfly species in the world—into the United States. In Singapore in 2002, customs agents discovered a 20 foot long cargo container filled with 13,000 pounds of illegal elephant ivory. And in the United Arab Emirates, more than one-half of the monkeys illegally smuggled from Pakistan in water tankers with false bottoms arrive dead.
Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) will again be the call to the world's best athletes as they compete in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. From its politics to the pageantry of the Olympics and its culture to the intense athletic competition, the world will be exposed to China like never before. Yet while the country's poor human rights record may be mentioned, the television networks are unlikely to report on the poor treatment of animals and the environment within the emerging economic superpower.
Ringling Eliminates Tigers from Show
In a tragic twist, while representatives of the horse slaughter industry testified before Congress on July 27, an incident involving a truck packed with horses in appalling conditions belied their statements. Thirteen of the 19 horses crammed into the trailer were stallions--an apparent violation of transport regulations.
Sept. 7 was a landmark day for America's horses. In perhaps the biggest legislative move of the decade to protect animals, the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption and the domestic and international transport of live horses or horseflesh for the same purpose.