AWI Quarterly » 2016 Winter

Winter 2016 AWI Quarterly Cover - Photo by Cyril Ruoso
Winter 2016 Volume 65 Number 4
A new, enhanced environment can give animals an opportunity to explore and interact. However, when animals are presented with these novel environments, they can be conflicted, with fear of the novelty opposing an instinctual desire to explore.
On the heels of the historic settlement between the US Department of Agriculture and Santa Cruz Biotechnology (SCBT), another huge commercial operation licensed as an animal dealer and registered as a research facility is under scrutiny, accused of numerous serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The fate of dogs used by the military in combat situations (e.g., bomb sniffing) has long been an intense area of concern. Last year, President Obama signed into law a military spending bill mandating that all such dogs must be brought home to the United States, and that handlers with whom the canines have formed bonds be given the opportunity to adopt them first.
In the United States, federal regulations require that pigs be stunned prior to slaughter by one of four methods: electricity, chemicals (gas), captive bolt device, or gunshot. The smallest slaughter plants generally use gunshot or captive bolt; mid-sized plants often use electricity, and the nation’s largest pork companies—Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, and JBS USA—mostly use carbon dioxide (CO2) gas to stun pigs.
In an attempt to clarify its procedures, the US Department of Agriculture published a new guidance document that explains the department’s approval process for animal raising claims such as humanely raised, free range, and pasture raised.
This fall, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on World Food Security (CWFS) met in Rome to discuss pertinent issues related to sustainable agriculture development for food security and nutrition. The committee developed 12 broad recommendations that aim to promote a sustainable global food system.
Imagine 3,000 dead chickens piled in a truck after a company failed to protect them from freezing conditions during transport, or watching someone at a slaughterhouse place the heads (instead of the legs) of live birds into shackles and intentionally pull on their bodies to decapitate them.
In March 2014, California Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced into the California Assembly AB 2140—a bill to prohibit the breeding of captive orcas and their use in theatrical shows in the state and require their retirement to a sanctuary. AWI, a cosponsor of the legislation, testified in favor of the bill at the hearing in the Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife, where it received strong support.
In 2013, the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA), local scientists, and government officials planned the release of five captive bottlenose dolphins—named Je-dol, Sampal, Chunsam, Taesan, and Boksoon—who had been illegally captured from a population living in the waters surrounding Jeju Island, South Korea. AWI’s Dr. Naomi Rose advised this effort, visiting South Korea twice at KAWA’s invitation to discuss the release plans.
For the first time in a decade, a new captive dolphin attraction has been built in the United States from the ground up, this time in Arizona. Dolphinaris, where customers pay to swim with dolphins, opened its doors on October 15.
On June 22, 2016, Georgia Aquarium announced it would no longer seek to acquire dolphins or beluga whales from the wild for its exhibits. While an important step forward, the announcement came only after the aquarium had lost a two-year court battle to acquire a permit to import 18 wild-caught belugas from Russia.
The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region—commonly referred to as the Cartagena Convention—is the only legally binding regional environmental treaty focused on the protection of biodiversity. Adopted in 1983 in Cartagena, Colombia, the treaty entered into force in 1986.
The 66th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) took place October 20–28, 2016, in Portorož, Slovenia, 70 years after the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was ratified.
Two years ago, red wolves numbered 90–110 in the wild. Victories won by AWI and allies limiting the hunting of coyotes in the wolves’ recovery area in North Carolina were helping to give the wolves a chance to take hold—that is, until the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in response to pressure from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, suddenly halted all red wolf recovery efforts in 2015.