Summer 2017

Photograph by Grzegorz Lesniewski/ Minden Pictures.
Volume
66
Number
2
About the Cover

Each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of muskrats are trapped for their fur. State wildlife agencies typically set limits on trapping, hunting, and fi shing based on "sustainable use" models—how many animals can be removed without causing the species' population to dip below desired numbers. But this reliance on simple replacement numbers ignores the social and ecological contributions of the individual, and often results in a form of "unnatural selection"—an evolutionary monkey wrench that robs the gene pool of its fi ttest contributors. See page 14 for more on why sustainable use is a suspect concept for managing wildlife.

Photograph by Grzegorz Lesniewski/ Minden Pictures.

Table of Contents

Wildlife

Eighty elephants were killed by poachers in Kenya during 2016. Since 2013, a total of 642 elephants have been killed—none during daylight hours. AWI has been working to help the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) suppress...
Pity the plight of Corey Knowlton, who shot an endangered black rhino and then was incensed to find that Delta Air Lines wouldn’t ship the spoils of his hunt home to Texas for him. So...
In 1782, the bald eagle became America’s national bird when its image was emblazoned on the country’s Great Seal. Legend has it that a group of bald eagles circled over a battlefield during the Revolutionary...
In 2015, Florida’s black bears suffered an estimated 20 percent population decline amidst the first state-authorized hunt since 1994. In 2016, the controversial hunt was put on hold for a year. This spring, Florida wildlife...
Wolves are still in the crosshairs of some in Congress and state governments. After a federal court lifted endangered species protection for wolves in Wyoming, the state’s Game and Fish Department reported that it plans...
“Jelly head” is a term frequently used to describe animals who have been caught in neck snares. The name refers to trapped animals who experience such severe edema (swelling as a result of excess fluid...
For many government officials and scientists responsible for the management of the planet’s wildlife species, “sustainable use” is synonymous with “perpetual exploitation.” It is a dogma that insists wildlife cannot be protected unless people can...
An influential faction of the 115th Congress is expressing a clear animosity toward animal protection measures. Emboldened, perhaps, by an administration that appears sympathetic to their aims, this faction is waging an escalating assault on...
An unaccredited, family-run zoo in northwestern Arkansas has run afoul of the US Department of Agriculture over the treatment of its animals. In early 2017, the USDA filed a complaint against Wild Wilderness, Inc., alleging...

Animals in Laboratories

In 2010, nearly 200 dogs and over 50 cats were saved from a North Carolina animal testing facility, after an undercover investigation exposed callous treatment and even malicious abuse of the animals by laboratory personnel....
Birds, including chickens, are commonly used in animal research. However, housing facilities are often optimized for mammals and contain no ultraviolet (UV) light. Unlike mammals, most birds are tetrachromatic, meaning that they can see in...

Government Affairs

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in global marine ecosystems. But shark numbers are declining at an alarming rate due to shark finning, the practice of cutting off the fins—often, brutally, while the...
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) reintroduced the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act (HR 1584) , in March 2017. The original bill—introduced in November 2015—was quite simple: It would have amended the Marine Mammal Protection...
After the public outcry regarding the US Department of Agriculture’s scrubbing of inspection records and other important enforcement documents from its website, the department began to restore selected records online. These included annual reports for...
Fourteen-year-old Canyon Mansfield was walking with Casey, his Labrador retriever, near his house when he noticed what looked like a sprinkler head. Unwittingly, he touched it, causing an explosion that knocked Canyon to the ground...

Marine Life

Mexico implemented a two-year ban on gillnets in April 2015 throughout the Upper Gulf of California to reduce vaquita deaths. Despite this, three of the tiny porpoises were found dead in March 2016, another three...
Maryland has placed a two-year moratorium on killing contests targeting cownose rays. The new law also directs the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to create a fishery management plan for the species by the end...
For the second year in a row, Kristján Loftsson, CEO of the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur, stated that there will likely be no commercial fin whale hunt this summer. For the past several years, AWI,...
In 2012, the animal protection community was shocked to learn that an orca (later named Narnia) had been captured in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia. This was a huge step backward in a world otherwise...
In the early 2000s, every time animal advocates turned around, it seemed there was a new proposal for a dolphinarium in the Caribbean. We fought every one—some were halted; others went forward. Then everything went...
In 2014, AWI was invited by Virgin Holidays—one of the world’s biggest tourism companies—to take part in a stakeholder process through which Virgin intended to fine tune its policy on swim-with-dolphin attractions. Dolphinarium operators also...
On April 25, a World Trade Organization arbitrator ruled that Mexico can pursue retaliatory measures against the United States for the $163 million a year Mexico claims to lose because of US import restrictions on...

Farm Animals

Avian influenza (“bird flu”) returned to the United States in 2017, two years after the disease was responsible for the worst animal disease outbreak in US history, with the loss of 50 million chickens and...
In 1996, animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin conducted an audit of 24 federal slaughter plants for the US Department of Agriculture. She found that only 30 percent of the plants were able to effectively render...
The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) released a report in early 2017 that scored restaurants, producers, and grocery stores on their commitment to farm animal welfare. The report showed that there is increased...
In other corporate responsibility news, restaurants and producers are beginning to make commitments to improve the lives of chickens raised for meat (known to the industry as “broiler” chickens). For instance, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and...
At a slaughterhouse in Pennsylvania last year, an employee made three attempts to render a pig unconscious with a rifle, with the animal vocalizing after each shot to the head. The plant did not have...

Humane Education

by Nancy Kellum Brown One of my personal goals every school year is to teach my students about compassion—not just what it is, but how to live compassionately. Compassion is such a great word. It...

In Remembrance

Dr. Carole Carlson, a valiant advocate for the conservation of whales and their marine environment, died on March 24 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, of pancreatic cancer. She was 69. Carole was among the pioneering researchers who...
Candy, a chimpanzee who spent most of her 50 plus years as an amusement park curiosity at Fun Fair Park and later at Dixie Landin’ in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has died. Candy was only 6...

Reviews

2016 / Craig Leeson / www.plasticoceans.org A beached Bryde’s whale writhes in distress, then slowly grows still. It is death by plastic: The whale’s stomach is tightly packed with bags and other plastic debris that...
Philip Lymbery / Bloomsbury Publishing / 384 pages In Dead Zone , Philip Lymbery takes readers along as he explores the lives of elephants in Sumatra, jaguars in Brazil, and barn owls in the United...
Peter Godfrey-Smith / Farrar, Straus and Giroux / 272 pages In this compelling work, distinguished philosopher of science and scuba diver Peter Godfrey-Smith writes of his experiences studying the minds of cephalopods, particularly octopuses and...