AWI Quarterly » 2016 Fall

Fall 2016 AWI Quarterly Cover - Photo by Stan Wayman
Fall 2016 Volume 65 Number 3
The abysmal animal welfare record of the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is well documented: three stipulated penalty fines from 2007, 2010, and 2013 totaling $58,633 and a pending complaint filed by the USDA on March 9, 2015.
As the previous AWI Quarterly was going to press, we received the stunning news of a USDA settlement with Santa Cruz Biotechnology (SCBT) with respect to allegations of repeated and egregious violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
AWI is offering up to five grants, of up to $8,500 each, to develop and demonstrate new methods of refinement and/or environmental enrichment for animals in research. The deadline for applications is December 16, 2016. Further information and links to the online application are available at
Proper use of pain relief (analgesics) in laboratory animals is a scientific and ethical imperative. Both the Animal Welfare Act and US Public Health Service policy require appropriate use of analgesics for painful procedures, with clear justification and approval required for withholding them.
The animals were kept on a former dairy farm in Gainesville, Virginia, where there was no heat, windows were broken, water pipes had frozen up, and dead dogs remained among the live ones. Some of the dogs died of distemper; others who contracted distemper were “destroyed.” Some were shot.
Perdue Farms, one of America’s largest industrial poultry producers, unveiled a plan in June designed to “accelerate its progress in poultry care.” Perdue claims that the plan, to be implemented over the next several years, is based on the “Five Freedoms”—an internationally recognized benchmark for animal husbandry.
United Egg Producers (UEP), an industry group representing the interests of egg farmers throughout the United States, says it will seek to eliminate the culling of male chicks. Because male chicks cannot produce eggs—and other breeds are used to produce meat chickens—males of the egg-producing breeds have no economic value.
China’s health ministry has announced new dietary guidelines for the nation’s 1.4 billion inhabitants. The guidelines now recommend no more than 40 to 75 grams (1.4 to 2.6 ounces) of meat per person per day—a 50 percent reduction of the current average consumption.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has published its first-ever set of guidelines for the humane slaughter of mammals and birds. In it, the AVMA addresses several recommendations offered by AWI, including those questioning the humaneness of low-voltage electrical stunning of poultry.
The welfare of birds at slaughter is not solely a matter of what happens once they pass through the doors of the slaughter establishment. Abuse and unnecessary suffering can occur before the birds even enter the plant.
A new report, Illegal Otter Trade: An Analysis of Seizures in Selected Asian Countries (1980–2015), by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, examines the black market trade in live otters and otter parts in the region. Four species affected by the trade were examined: small-clawed otters, smooth-coated otters, hairy-nosed otters, and Eurasian otters.
Outbreaks of algae may once again be taking a heavy toll on the West Indian manatee population in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. Since May, nine manatee carcasses have been found, all bearing signs of gastric trauma related to the spread of algae in the polluted lagoon.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced in June that it plans to move its colony of eight dolphins from its indoor amphitheater pool to a seaside dolphin sanctuary—the nation’s first. The aquarium publicly stated two years prior that it was considering such a move. (See AWI Quarterly, summer 2014.)
For over a decade, AWI has provided an online database of restaurants in the United States that continue to serve shark fin soup. The goal is to help people avoid such establishments and to call attention to the inherent cruelty associated with shark finning and the devastating effect that commercial demand for fins has on shark populations.