AWI Quarterly » 2014 Spring

Spring 2014 Quarterly - Cover Photo by Richard Du Toit/Minden Pictures
Spring 2014 Volume 63 Number 2
In November 2012, the industry journal Lab Animal published an extraordinary profile of licensed veterinary technologist Santina Caruso, entitled “Working with animals is ‘in her blood.’” Why was this feature extraordinary?
On April 4, 2014, in a Notice of Agency Decision, NIH announced its new requirement regarding the minimum floor space required for each of the remaining chimpanzees in NIH-supported research (see Summer 2013 AWI Quarterly). NIH’s Council of Councils Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research (Working Group) had originally recommended 1,000 ft2 per chimpanzee. This recommendation, however, was rejected.
Dr. Kenneth Litwak recently joined AWI as our laboratory animal advisor, after nearly 20 years conducting and overseeing animal research. We sat down with Kenneth to talk about his thoughts on animal welfare and the long road that led him to AWI.
Moving animals in research around within an institution is a very common practice. Animals are moved from their housing rooms to laboratories or other locations, such as imaging or surgical facilities. Transportation is inherently stressful to these animals and can expose the public to allergens and diseases.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” must have been the mantra for legislators in two states that recently made gains for animal and human victims of abuse. South Dakota finally shed its identity as the only state without felony cruelty provisions when Governor Dennis Daugaard signed SB 46.
The use of animal welfare and sustainability claims has increased dramatically over the past decade, as consumers have become more aware of and concerned about the well-being of animals raised for food and about the negative impacts of animal agriculture on the environment. But despite their interest, consumers are confused about the meaning of animal welfare and sustainability claims on labels, the accuracy of which they are typically unable to verify for themselves.
Tyson and Smithfield announced changes to their respective animal care programs for pigs and the operations they are raised within. Both companies are asking/instructing producers to improve their production practices by implementing basic animal welfare requirements and recommendations.
The Canadian National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), a collaboration between the agriculture industry, animal welfare groups, government, and other interested parties, recently released its Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs.
After a four-year wait, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its ruling on Australia’s challenge to Japan’s scientific whaling program in the Antarctic (known as JARPA II). The ruling, issued March 31 in The Hague, The Netherlands, by a vote of 12–4, concluded that JARPA II does not comply with Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (the article authorizing whaling for scientific research).
California stands poised to be the first state to end captivity of orcas for entertainment purposes. In early March, AWI’s Dr. Naomi Rose joined Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Blackfish director Gabriella Cowperthwaite, and two former SeaWorld trainers at a press conference on Santa Monica pier to announce the introduction of SB 2140 by Assemblymember Bloom.
Lolita, now almost 50 years old, was a member of the Southern Resident distinct population segment (SR DPS) of orcas when she was captured in 1970 off Whidbey Island, Washington. She has been held and displayed at the Miami Seaquarium ever since, in an enclosure long believed by AWI and others to be non-compliant with Animal Welfare Act (AWA) space standards.
Sadly, there has been another mass stranding of Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) that coincides with naval activities involving sonar blasts. This one occurred over several days in early April in waters south of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. From first reports, the incident appears to have involved at least five single stranding events and seven animals.
Bocas del Toro is a cluster of small islands on the Atlantic side of Panama, with a rich and diverse marine ecosystem. Until recently, the human presence in Bocas del Toro consisted of indigenous communities and a few banana plantations. People traveled by small handmade canoes, and lived in one-room wooden stilt houses.
Americans consume more than 5 billion pounds of seafood each year, 85 percent of which is imported. Although, historically, little information has been provided about the origin of this fish, American consumers are beginning to ask questions about the sustainability of the catch and demand that animal welfare issues be taken into account.