AWI Quarterly » 2012 Winter

Every country has its own unique perspective on the relationship between humans and animals. It is all too easy to dismiss the practices of others as illogical or abhorrent. For the typical Westerner, eating dogs certainly qualifies as one of those practices we find strange and unsettling.
In mid-December, the advocacy group, WildEarth Guardians, settled a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to obtain reports related to the aerial killing of wildlife.
The federal Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA) is supposed to protect Tennessee Walking Horses and other gaited breeds from “soring,” the practice of applying chemicals or mechanical devices to horses that inflict pain in order to cause the exaggerated gait so prized by segments of the show horse industry.
Albert Schweitzer once said, “... all of us must feel the horror that lies in thoughtless torturing and killing.” In November, at the Hill Center in Washington, D.C., AWI awarded the Albert Schweitzer Medal to three state prosecutors who not only feel the horror, but aggressively confront those responsible - meting out justice to individuals who cause animals to suffer via acts of willful maliciousness, severe neglect, or the more organized and systematic brutality of animal fighting.
Undercover investigations by animal advocates are an increasingly important tool in exposing the disturbing realities of factory farming. However, a number of states have begun to consider legislation aimed squarely at the messenger rather than the broken system.
A recent undercover investigation of several Sparboe Farms egg facilities revealed the unconscionable treatment of chickens on factory farms.
Between 2000 and 2008, an estimated one out of every 100 sharks caught around the globe was killed off the coast of Senegal.
The United States has prohibited the landing and possession of thorny skates in U.S. waters since 2003. Despite this, their numbers have dropped precipitously, to a point alarmingly below the threshold needed to ensure the species’ survival.
A federal judge in November upheld the listing of Alaska’s Cook Inlet beluga whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), rejecting a bid by the state of Alaska to overturn it.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - the “Greatest Show on Earth” according to its slogan - has a new distinction that probably won’t appear in its promotional materials: The circus company has been slapped with the largest fine ever under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) against an exhibitor.