A Letter from the President of AWI

After perhaps the most disheartening, divisive campaign in modern memory, the votes have been tabulated. Next year, a new administration will plant its flag in Washington, DC. A new Congress will convene. A new era will begin for the citizens of America and, by extension, the citizens of the world affected by American policy.

The same can be said for the world’s animals. What happens in Washington has ramifications for wild and domestic animals across the country and throughout the world. Ideally, therefore, an incoming administration would recognize the need to protect biodiversity, take a moral stand against senseless cruelty in animal agriculture and other commercial sectors, and consider climate change a real and present danger.

The reality we face is far different. Thus far, there is no indication that animal welfare is a priority—or even a concern—for the Trump administration. Prominent transition figures and names floated for key cabinet posts portend a disastrous direction for conservation in America. President-elect Trump says he will “cancel” the Paris climate accord and approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. And though the sins of the sons perhaps cannot be imputed to the father, it is gravely unsettling to see photos of Eric and Donald Jr. posing proudly with lifeless “trophies”—a leopard and an elephant among them—that were gunned down on safari. Meanwhile, we anticipate another Congress in which many of the most powerful remain fixated on eroding or erasing hard-won legal protections for animals.

And so, we must redouble our efforts. The Animal Welfare Institute will work on the ground, in court, and with humanitarians in Congress and the executive branch to see that animal suffering is addressed and alleviated, that what has been gained will not be lost.

It will be difficult. We need your help now more than ever. We must stay united. We must be loud. Whatever unfolds in coming years, we must continue to do all that we can to defend the defenseless.

—Cathy Liss, December 5, 2016