AWI Quarterly » 2016 Spring

Spring 2016 AWI Quarterly - Cover, Photo by Ben Osborne/Minden Pictures
Spring 2016 Volume 65 Number 1
A firestorm has rained down on Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (SCBT)—long one of the world’s largest antibody producers—following a February 19, 2016, Nature article entitled “Thousands of goats and rabbits vanish from major biotech lab.”
Mice are the most common animal used in research. Many routine procedures (including blood pressure measurement, injections, and blood collection) require the mouse to be restrained. As manual restraint can be stressful and traumatic, mice are most commonly held in a restrainer—typically a hard, smooth cylinder or cone.
For mice in laboratories, ulcerative dermatitis is a common condition affecting their health and welfare. It is also often a death sentence, as the most common treatments are rarely effective.
Unimaginable. Traumatic. That’s how the veterinarians who treated Cub described his injuries. He was discovered hobbling along a road in New Mexico; his body riddled with shotgun pellets as he tried to move on the exposed ends of bones where his hind legs once were. He had been caught in a steel-jaw leghold trap, and after being discovered by the trapper, he was shot. Still, somehow, he survived.
The Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS), an agency within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), maintains a voluntary marketing program that allows companies to use a “USDA Process Verified” shield on their packaging when AMS has verified that the company adheres to a set of self-determined standards of operation.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in November 2015 that it had approved genetically engineered (GE) salmon for human consumption—the first such approval for a GE animal. Further, the FDA stated that it had no plans to require that GE salmon be labeled as such, even though consumers don’t particularly want to eat it and definitely want to know if it’s at the supermarket.
AWI recently published a report on the USDA’s label approval process for “free range” (and equivalent) claims. The report shows that the USDA inadequately defines and evaluates the claim.
The “exempt” in custom-exempt signifies that this type of slaughter is excused from continuous inspection, unlike federal- and state-inspected slaughter, where government officials must be on the premises of the establishment whenever slaughter is being conducted. With custom-exempt slaughter, inspectors need not be present, and, in fact, inspection typically occurs only once or twice per year.
From 1995–1996, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducted a negotiated rulemaking, bringing together stakeholders of varying viewpoints in an attempt to hammer out consensus language to update the regulations governing the care and maintenance of captive marine mammals.
In January, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a reclassification of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. AWI strongly opposes this proposal.
AWI co-hosted an event to highlight the plight of the vaquita porpoise and the totoaba fish during the January meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee.
On December 13, AWI’s Dr. Naomi Rose and her colleague Dr. Lori Marino of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy conducted a workshop on sea pen sanctuaries for cetaceans, in conjunction with the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Francisco. The workshop addressed how and where to establish a coastal sanctuary for cetaceans who one day will be retired from captive display.
On December 4, 2015, the China Cetacean Alliance (CCA) launched a major campaign to raise public awareness of the suffering faced by the cetaceans held captive in China. AWI is a founding member of the CCA, along with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Marine Connection, and the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, as well as animal and environmental groups in Taiwan and mainland China.
In December, AWI officially notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) of its intent to sue the agency for failing to decide in a timely fashion on whether to list the pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) as endangered, pursuant to the emergency listing petition AWI filed in November 2013.