AWI Quarterly » 2017 Spring

Nearly 10,000 copies of a Chinese language edition of A Dangerous Life, a graphic novel for middle school–aged readers about the ivory trade, are being distributed this year to school children in China.
A butterfly’s life is fragile at the best of times. But these are hardly the best of times. Indeed, all the indicators and experts agree: The butterflies are now enduring very serious challenges. Extinction is overtaking them in the distant forests of Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea, as well as in the British countryside, the Mexican hill country, the Northern Great Plains, southern Florida, and our own backyards.
In a surprise move, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced in January that it is closing down, effective May 2017, after 146 years in operation. In explaining the decision, Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld of Feld Entertainment Inc.—owner of the circus for the past 50 years—cited ”a downward trend in attendance over 10 years” as the public’s taste in entertainment changed.
On February 3, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) abruptly removed from its website inspection reports and other key documents relating to enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The continuing resolution that the 114th Congress passed in December to fund the government until April 28 kept in place AWI-supported language denying funds for horse slaughter plant inspections by the USDA—a move that effectively keeps these plants from operating.
AWI welcomes Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) as the new co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus in the 115th Congress, replacing Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), who retired at the end of the last term. Rep. Buchanan will join co-chair Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who is serving his second term in the role.
Dr. Alexey Yablokov, described as Russia’s “environmental knight” and as the “grandfather of Russian ecology,” passed away on January 10 at the age of 83.
The African elephants have lost a grand and valiant champion. Pierre Pfeffer, director of research at both the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and France’s National Center for Scientific Research, passed away on December 29 at the age of 89.
Animal control officers (ACOs) are often the first responders to incidents of animal neglect and cruelty. Their importance in this role took on added significance on January 1, 2016, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation started collecting data on animal cruelty incidents under its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)—a policy approved in 2014 in large part due to efforts by AWI staff members.
At its heart an ethnography, Eating the Ocean, by gender and culture professor Elspeth Probyn, is a challenging and unexpected contribution to the growing “food politics” genre. Although focused on questions concerning the sustainability of eating (and growing) seafood, the book has a basis in storytelling.
A Plea for the Animals is largely a compendium, providing summary descriptions of the horrible sufferings imposed upon animals resulting from factory farming, animal experimentation, trafficking in wildlife, and “animals in entertainment”—everything from shooting animals for trophies to bull fighting to circuses.