AWI Quarterly » 2015 Summer

Summer 2015 AWI Quarterly - Cover, Photo by Zach Baranowski
Summer 2015 Volume 64 Number 3
An increasing number of scientists have been proposing that empathetic behaviors are not limited to human beings. They argue that animals are aware not only of themselves, but also of the emotional states of their companions.
The Animal Welfare Institute is dedicated to promoting better care for animals in research. From our earliest days, we have encouraged laboratory personnel to provide animals with comfortable housing and the opportunity to engage in species-typical behaviors, while sparing them needless suffering.
A recent retraction of a paper describing a study involving squirrel monkeys at the now-closed New England National Primate Research Center (NENPRC) shows once again that poor animal welfare leads to poor science.
As the USDA considers a Petition for Rulemaking to establish criteria to promote the psychological well-being of primates, a discussion concerning regulations based on “performance standards” as opposed to “engineering standards” is timely.
On May 13 the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed an amendment to its regulation requiring the immediate humane euthanasia of nonambulatory cattle.
The Trouble with Chicken, a Frontline documentary that premiered on PBS in May, exposes the dangers of microbial pathogens in poultry, and the lack of laws protecting the public. Following the show’s airing, two bills were introduced to Congress: the Pathogen Testing and Reduction Act (PTRA) and the Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act (MPRNA).
Each year, from roughly September through April, more than a thousand dolphins are removed from the wild during the unspeakably cruel Taiji, Japan, dolphin drive hunts. Most are herded into the shallows and violently slaughtered for meat and blubber, as depicted in the Oscar-winning movie, The Cove. For others, the suffering lasts even longer—as they are sold into a life in captivity within aquariums in Japan, China and elsewhere.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its latest ruling in April in a decades-long dispute between Mexico and the United States over “Dolphin Safe” labeling of tuna caught in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP). The ruling, as other WTO decisions before it, was a victory for Mexico’s multibillion-dollar tuna fishing industry, and a blow to dolphin conservation. The United States has appealed.
AWI and Defenders of Wildlife filed a petition on May 28 with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the Northwest Atlantic population of the thorny skate (Amblyraja radiata) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
On June 5, a 3-week-old female beluga at Georgia Aquarium died. Just over a month later, another 3-week-old female beluga—born prematurely—died at SeaWorld San Antonio. The Georgia Aquarium birth had been hailed as a milestone, “the first viable calf to be born from parents who were born in human care.”
A Hawaii souvenir shop’s owner, employees, and business partners were indicted on 21 counts in June for illegally trafficking in whale bone, elephant and walrus ivory, and black corals.
In 1995, Robert Small and Douglas DeMaster calculated annual survivorship rates (ASRs) in captive orcas and compared these results to the ASRs of wild orcas living in the Pacific Northwest of North America.
Ontario has become the first province in Canada to ban the breeding, purchase and sale of orcas. The new law, titled the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, passed the legislature at the end of May. It also requires qualified veterinarians with marine mammal expertise to oversee preventive and clinical care at any facility that has marine mammals.
For 16 years­—the past two for AWI—Dr. Naomi Rose has been a member of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) Scientific Committee. She is an invited participant on the sub-committees on whalewatching and environmental concerns, and also participates in discussions in other sub-committees, including those concerned with small cetaceans, human-induced mortalities, and aboriginal subsistence whaling.