AWI Quarterly » 2017 Fall

Photograph by Doug Perrine/Minden Pictures
Fall 2017 Volume 66 Number 3
Ocelots may have a better chance at survival in the United States, thanks to a June 26 settlement AWI and the Center for Biological Diversity reached with the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Eight North Atlantic right whales have died since early June, a devastating blow to a population that numbers roughly 500. This disaster has been compounded by the tragic death of Joe Howlett, a founding member of the Campobello [New Brunswick] Whale Rescue Team, who was struck by a right whale that he had just released from fishing gear.
On July 6, AWI cosponsored a “Save the Vaquita” rally at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC. The well-attended gathering (despite pouring rain) received wide coverage in Mexican media and followed a flurry of actions aimed at staving off extinction for the vaquita.
Japan has adopted a new law that (1) guarantees huge state subsidies for its otherwise nonviable whaling industry, (2) seeks to raise demand for whale meat, and (3) establishes penalties against foreign protesters.
For years, the animal protection community, including AWI, has maintained that the tank for Lolita, the lone orca who has languished for over 45 years at the Miami Seaquarium, does not meet the minimum space requirements for her species under US law.
AWI seeks to persuade not just the general public and policymakers, but zoos and aquariums themselves, that cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) do not belong in captivity.
What if an animal could entertain and educate millions of people annually, enhance productivity (thereby increasing the number of fish in the sea), mitigate climate change, feed billions of marine animals, generate billions of dollars in revenue globally, and even help get tough stains out of your clothes? Does such an animal exist?
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee held its annual meeting in mid-May, once again choosing Bled, Slovenia, as its venue. AWI’s Dr. Naomi Rose attended, focusing (as she has in previous years) on work within the Environmental Concerns Standing Working Group and the Sub-Committee on Whalewatching.
North American wildlife lost one of their staunchest advocates with the death in June of esteemed author and naturalist Hope Ryden. AWI is honored to have worked with Hope: From the 1980s through 2004, she served on the board of trustees of AWI’s lobbying arm, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL). After AWI and SAPL merged in 2004, Hope moved to AWI’s scientific committee.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to maintain the long-standing ban on horse slaughterhouse inspections by the US Department of Agriculture. Prohibiting these inspections effectively prevents such plants from operating in this country. However, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly voted against keeping the ban in place.
The 115th Congress has declared war on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Even though the ESA has a 99 percent success rate in preventing the extinction of listed species and 90 percent of the American public strongly supports the law, its opponents are determined to dismantle it.
There is more good news regarding a multijurisdiction cockfighting case first reported in the fall 2015 AWI Quarterly. The case focused on the Big Blue Sportsman’s Club in eastern Kentucky, where cockfights had been held for more than 20 years.
In 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman established an Animal Cruelty Initiative to focus on prosecuting animal cruelty crimes and protecting consumers from unscrupulous companion animal dealers.
There is another addition to the growing body of case law acknowledging that companion animals are not mere property. As reported by the Toledo Blade late last year, Ohio’s 6th District Court of Appeals “has taken a stand by placing a higher value on companion animals.”