AWI Quarterly » 2005 Summer

photo by Daniel J. Cox
Summer 2005 Volume 54 Number 3
Several years ago, Ben White of AWI co-founded the cetacean freedom network, an email-based assembly of captivity-conscious individuals and groups.
Are we there yet? In the confines of your comfortable car, how often has someone asked just that? Now imagine traveling for hundreds of miles in a bleak, overcrowded space with no temperature control, little or no food or water and few stops, if any. You have likely seen such transport en route, because every year, billions of farm animals travel this way.
After a period of phasing out the force-feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras, this horrific practice has finally ended in Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled almost two years ago that force-feeding is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act, and would not be permitted in Israel after April 1, 2005. The country was the fourth largest producer of foie gras at the time of the ban.
On April 28th, the House and the Senate both approved the final annual budget resolution conference report, which effectively permits potentially devastating activity on the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Refuge.
Due to a 2002 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, millions of birds used in experimentation each year in the United States are no longer defined as "animals," and are denied this federal oversight as a result. The conditions under which they are held are therefore open to interpretation. Researchers and institutions often afford them only the most basic welfare requirements. Most rely on tradition or manufacturer specifications when choosing caging for birds.
A pseudo-environmental political campaign was concocted back in 1997 to "protect" nearly 60 million acres of unroaded backcountry in national forests. Launched with great fanfare and expensive publicity, President Clinton put the protection into effect during the very last days of his tenure in 2000.
Saving Amazon rainforests is the goal of many environmental groups around the world, but the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) differs from most of its fellow organizations in its motivations. "The agenda we have is driven by the Indians," said Executive Director Liliana Madrigal. ACT strives to work with indigenous people to preserve their cultures, as well as the plants and animals living in their midst.
It sounds too unbelievable to be true, but Helen and Bill Thayer actually lived alongside a pack of wolves for an entire year. With the motivation of studying the animals outside of captivity, within a natural habitat in Canada, the adventuresome couple set out on an expedition with their dog Charlie—albeit with mixed expectations.
The Animal Welfare Institute previously reported on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's struggle to extricate itself from an economically and culturally disadvantageous lease arrangement with Sun Prairie and Bell Farms to create the world's third largest hog factory (AWI Quarterly, Spring 2003).
American horses may soon be safe from slaughter, thanks to two recent landmark votes in Congress. The first prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the slaughter of wild horses, and the second goes even further by stopping the use of these funds to slaughter any horse in the United States.
In our nation's capital, there are lobbyists for every industry imaginable—agriculture, energy, tobacco, defense—but what about the animals? Who lobbies for them? Fifty years ago, it was illegal for non-profit tax-exempt organizations to engage in such activities.
Our group at the University of Texas has pursued techniques to refine the handling and management of non-human primates in the laboratory for several years now, with the direct goal of enhancing their welfare. We also try to improve the manner in which the research is done on the animals, because we feel animals with enhanced welfare are better research subjects, as they are less likely to be adversely affected by stress.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is proud to be a supporting member of America's Whale Alliance (AWA). This coalition of over 80 US groups was founded by Ocean Defense International in response to the apparent change of direction of the US government regarding its opposition to the resumption of commercial whaling.
Although wolves are considered an endangered species throughout the United States, they number in the thousands in Alaska—where it remains legal to hunt them. April 30, 2005 marked the end of Alaska's most recent hunting season, but it did not come and go without a price.