AWI Quarterly » 2007 Summer

photo by John Hyde
Summer 2007 Volume 56 Number 3
For $235, the cow was dumped from a truck to meet her fate. The tigers attacked within seconds, ineptly tearing her flesh as she struggled to survive. While a wild tiger would have dispatched the cow quickly, these captive tigers had become accustomed to being fed by humans and had lost their predatory skills.
On June 4, the Animal Welfare Institute selected eight outstanding honorees (listed below) to receive its Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards. The prestigious award is given to those who engage in exemplary law enforcement actions to protect species of wildlife listed in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Marjorie Cooke, an esteemed member of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) Board of Directors since 1974, has stepped down from her post. AWI wishes to thank Mrs. Cooke for her dedicated service to both AWI and the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL). The sister of the late John Kullberg, a well-known activist and former director of SAPL, she is a longtime animal advocate herself and worked closely with Christine Stevens. Roger Fouts, Ph.D. has stepped down from the board as well, but will fortunately serve on AWI’s Scientific Committee.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed in April to list the Cook Inlet beluga whale as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), following a November 2006 Status Review and Extinction Assessment that found the population is now at a "26 percent probability of extinction within 100 years."
During recent World Trade Organization negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, the United States submitted a proposal highlighting the need to cut worldwide destructive fisheries subsidies in order to stop the collapse of global fish species. The United States recommends that subsidies distorting trade and endangering marine life be prohibited by the body.
New research led by Oregon University’s Dr. Scott Baker confirms a long-held suspicion that South Korea is ignoring "unintended" whaling. Baker’s team used DNA fingerprinting of minke whale meat to determine how many individual whales were killed in recent years as the alleged bycatch of South Korean fishing nets.
The European Union and the 20 nations party to the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization have agreed to curb the practice of bottom trawling in the South Pacific. This huge step in marine conservation, reached at a meeting in Renaca, Chile, will take effect on September 30—with particular importance to New Zealand, whose fishermen are responsible for 90 percent of bottom trawling in the South Pacific.
In late April, a three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals refused to permit the Bush Administration to weaken the "Dolphin Safe" tuna label, criticizing the US Department of Commerce’s failure to base its findings on science.
At the 59th International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting held this May in Anchorage, Alaska, pro-whaling nations were expected to bristle with confidence gained from the simple majority they achieved briefly at last year’s meeting. But the 2007 gathering was anticipated anxiously by both sides of the whaling debate, since all of the aboriginal subsistence quotas, including Alaska’s own, were up for their 5-year renewal.
Each year, bees and their hives travel across the United States aboard tractor-trailers to pollinate vegetation on the West Coast. Because wild pollinators such as birds and bats are unable to keep up with the demand for pollination of the increasing dimensions of almond groves and over 90 varieties of crops from California to Washington State, migratory beehives and their apiculturists are essential to the region’s agricultural health. However, in recent months, millions of bees have abandoned their hives, gone missing or died.
Right whales in the North Pacific have still not recovered from being ravaged by historic commercial whaling, and according to US government sources, fewer than 300 may exist—making them the most endangered whale species in the world. Unfortunately, a recently planned lease sale area in Alaska’s Bristol Bay overlaps with their critical habitat, and proposed exploration would expose right whales and other marine species to threats such as noise pollution, oil spills, chemical pollution, vessel collisions and entanglement with or ingestion of marine debris.
In a victory for both salmon and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Bush Administration’s misguided strategy for making hydroelectric dams in the Columbia-Snake River Basin safe for salmon. Ruling against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claim that it was not necessary to consider the effects of the four dams on salmon because they were built before the implementation of the ESA, the judge acknowledged that it might be necessary to breach the dams to restore salmon populations.
This June, a dangerous provision entitled Section 123 was inserted quietly into the 2007 Farm Bill (H.R. 2419), putting at risk critical state and local authority to ensure food safety, fight against animal cruelty, and protect the environment.
Millions of furbearing animals each year suffer pain and fear when caught in highly destructive steel-jaw leghold traps, which are banned in 89 countries. Companion animals, birds, deer and other non-target animals fall victim to the indiscriminate trap as well.