Spring 2020

Volume
69
Number
1
Photograph by Marc Latremouille
About the Cover

After grizzly bears were nearly eradicated from the contiguous United States, protections afforded the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have helped boost bear numbers. The ESA and other vital environmental laws protect both wildlife and human communities. Alarmingly, the Trump administration has been waging war on these laws, nullifying them not by legislative repeal but by regulatory rollbacks—making sure they can’t be enforced as intended. Turn to page 14 for more on this distressing assault and why we, the public, must fight back.

Photograph by Marc Latremouille

Table of Contents

Animals in Laboratories

Native to the Andes Mountains in South America, chinchillas are gentle, social, inquisitive, and energetic rodents. Though not typically thought of as experimental animals, chinchillas (because of their large ears and hearing similar to humans)...
by Kathleen Coda, DVM, postdoctoral clinical veterinarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago Biologic Resources Laboratory One of the goals of environmental enrichment is to encourage species-typical behaviors while discouraging abnormal behaviors. Assessing the...
Organ-on-a-chip is a relatively new technology that reconstitutes the functions of human organs on devices as small as a computer memory stick. Each organ-on-a-chip is composed of a clear flexible polymer lined with human cells...
AWI is pleased to announce publication of It’s Okay to Cry: Discussions by the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum, Volume V. Since 2002, AWI’s Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) has facilitated the...

Companion Animals

Each year in the United States, hundreds of racehorses die on tracks across the country—a death toll that far exceeds the number of fatalities in other racing jurisdictions around the world. Why the difference? Well...

Farm Animals

In February, AWI and a coalition of animal groups sued the USDA for its decision to deny a petition asking the department to ban the cruel practice of slaughtering nonambulatory disabled (NAD) pigs. NAD animals...
Each year, under a federal disaster assistance program called the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the US Department of Agriculture shells out tens of millions of dollars to compensate livestock producers for the injuries and/or deaths...
The perils of overseas animal transport were recently underscored when 21 cows perished on a barge traveling from Honolulu to Kauai. While the animals were inspected at the port—per Hawaii regulations for preventing the transmission...
On January 22, 2020, a federal district court in Kansas struck down a majority of the state’s ag-gag law for violating the First Amendment. The law, enacted in 1990, banned individuals from going undercover to...
New York City recently joined California in passing legislation to prohibit the sale of foie gras, a controversial “delicacy” in French cuisine that has long been criticized by animal advocates for the cruel way in...
The USDA has recently released its updated food labeling guideline for animal-raising claims made on meat and poultry products, three years after taking public comments on proposed changes. Disappointingly, the department failed to address a...

Humane Education

AWI extends our congratulations to Hailey Chui (California), Katja Erringer (Oregon), Sage Farrow (Colorado), Lien Ferry (Pennsylvania), Makenna Owens (Florida), Will Smith (Minnesota), Isabelle Sydow (Minnesota), and Chloe Quin (Illinois). These are the recipients of...

Marine Life

At least three dolphins were brutally killed within a year, and AWI is supporting the efforts of local authorities to bring those responsible to justice. In late January 2020, a dead dolphin washed up in...
In early December 2019, more than 2,700 marine mammal scientists, policymakers, students, and activists, as well as journalists and others interested in the latest marine mammal science developments, gathered from 95 countries in Barcelona, Spain...
The past three years have been devastating for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Only 400 individuals of the species are thought to remain. Since 2017, over the course of three right whale calving...
US Fish and Wildlife Service officials seized 18 boxes of dried shark fins at PortMiami in late January. The shipment, estimated to be worth up to $1 million, was believed to have originated in South...
Solar storms eject high-energy particles from the sun, which stream toward Earth and disrupt communications systems and the planet’s magnetic field. Researchers at Duke University and Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, reporting in Current Biology, believe these...
Japan’s whaling underwent some dramatic changes in 2019, following that nation’s departure from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) after more than six decades of membership: Japan finally ended the pretense that it was conducting “research...

Wildlife

While the images of singed rescued koalas have dominated media attention, many other species are impacted by the Australian fires. Grey-headed flying foxes; platypuses; kangaroos; wallabies; quokkas; northern and southern hairy-nosed wombats; brushtail possums; sugar...
Wildlife researchers: Do you have ideas that would contribute to more humane wildlife management and study? AWI is now accepting applications for its 2020 Christine Stevens Wildlife Award grant program. Habitat destruction and degradation, urban...
The international outpouring of support toward injured and orphaned animal victims of the Australian wildfires has been tremendous. In addition to the generous monetary and medical supply donations, individuals from around the world picked up...
Our nation’s foundational environmental laws are a little like air—something you don’t really notice until it’s gone, or is so diluted that it’s hard to breathe. Like air, we take these laws for granted, easily...
The eastern massasauga is a small rattlesnake that was once widespread and common but is now threatened in approximately 75 percent of its range. It is protected in every state or province where it occurs...
Over the past century, coyotes have expanded their range, now inhabiting everywhere from Alaska to Mexico, and San Francisco to New York City. One consequence of their success has been an increase in conflict with...

Government Affairs

The fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills finalized in December included a number of victories for animals: On the marine side, $3 million was allocated for research and monitoring of the gravely imperiled North Atlantic right...
A bill to restrict the sale of ivory and rhino horn in the nation’s capital is poised to pass the DC Council and head to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s desk. A 2017 study by TRAFFIC found...
Although an in-person hearing was canceled, AWI staff provided testimony to the Montgomery County Council in March in support of Bill 6-20. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Tom Hucker, prohibits the intentional release of...
In August 2019, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service finalized three regulatory changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that drastically undermine this crucial conservation law. In response, Representative Raúl...
As we go to press, a bill to address the exploitation of tiger cubs and other captive wild animals awaits Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s signature. SB 1030 would prohibit public contact with dangerous wild animals...

Reviews

Few endangered species sagas are as complex as the fight to save the Florida panther. Journalist Craig Pittman does an excellent job of untangling 50 years of biopolitics, egos, and evolving science in his new...
The Hidden World of the Fox is a concise, yet broad overview of the fox. The author, British mammal ecologist Adele Brand, has been studying foxes for 20 years, and though her primary focus is...
Surprising to some, honey bees are not native to North America. In the book, The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild, biologist Thomas Seeley writes that the dark...

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