AWI Quarterly » 2017 Spring

Spring 2017 AWI Quarterly Cover - Photo by Novartis AG
Spring 2017 Volume 66 Number 1
When Isaac, a rhesus macaque, first arrived we were so worried about him. He cowered in the corner as he fear grimaced, and refused to eat or drink for several days. If anyone approached his cage, or if any other monkey even looked in his direction, he would engage in fear-based redirected behaviors, and would nervously attack the front of his cage, then quickly return to cower in the corner.
The following email discussion took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum in February 2016. Submissions by Carey Allen, Evelyn Skoumbourdis, Jacqueline Schwartz, Jennie Lofgren, Jennifer Defosses, Kristina Carter, Leslie Jenkins, Lorraine Bell, Marcie Donnelly, Marloes Hentzen, Michele Cunneen, Reneé Gainer, Sarah Thurston, Stacie Havens, and Tom Ferrell.
The USDA reached an astonishingly weak settlement on December 2, 2016, with SNBL USA, an animal dealer and registered research facility—despite allegations of egregious violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by the company dating back to 2002. (See AWI Quarterly, winter 2016.) The settlement includes the following provisions:
AWI has worked to improve animal welfare standards under the US Department of Agriculture’s Certified Organic label for over 15 years. In early 2017, our efforts helped lead the USDA to finalize a rule to improve the lives of millions of organically raised animals.
Near the end of 2016, the USDA Office of Inspector General released an audit intended “to evaluate the research practices and operations of MARC” (the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska). It was conducted in response to myriad allegations published in a New York Times exposé of appalling animal welfare conditions at the facility.
In September, at a federally inspected slaughterhouse in Pennsylvania, a pig was shot three times in the head, but remained alive—vocalizing after each shot. The facility did not have a backup stunning device, so a worker drove home, returning 10 minutes later with another gun to finally put the animal out of his misery.
In a sure sign of changing times, a resort development on Oahu has abandoned plans to include a captive dolphin attraction at its facility. Atlantis Ko Olina (a new addition to Kerzner International’s Atlantis Resorts chain) had pursued a dolphin display permit in the early days of planning.
Dr. Naomi Rose, AWI’s marine mammal scientist, traveled to China in December to visit and evaluate several captive marine mammal facilities. She also gave two public presentations in Chengdu, one of China’s largest cities.
Two years ago, scientists estimated that only 100 vaquita porpoises remained in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. In April 2015, as vaquitas continued to die due to entanglement in fishing gear, the Mexican government proposed a two-year ban on gillnets in the Gulf.
Tilikum, the 12,000-pound male orca at SeaWorld Orlando who was featured in the documentary Blackfish in 2013, was probably born in 1980, give or take a year. Ever since he killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, in 2010, he’s been beating the odds by surviving.
This past December, mute swans in New York finally gained protection under legislation introduced by Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation released a draft management plan in 2013 calling for eradication of all 2,200 birds by 2025 (see AWI Quarterly, spring 2014).
In January, AWI and allies submitted a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the registration of Compound 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate), used in “livestock protection collars” by the USDA’s Wildlife Services program to kill coyotes.
Two lynx were found shot dead in northern Maine in November 2016, prompting an investigation by local and federal officials. A reward of $19,000 for information leading to convictions for the killings is being offered by AWI and other nonprofit, state, and federal sources.
Beginning March 31, 2017, China is embarking on a deliberate, nine-month sequential procedure to shut down its ivory industry. In so doing, it is dismantling the world’s most important marketplace for both legal and contraband ivory. Hardly anyone anticipated that the decision would be so sudden, comprehensive, and authoritative.