AWI Quarterly

Dog/Human Bond Goes Way Back

A recent archeological discovery supports the notion that humans have considered dogs part of the family - in life and in death - for a very long time. The respectful manner in which a Husky-like dog was buried 7,000 years ago in Siberia strongly suggests he was valued not just as a useful animal to have around, but as a true member of the clan.

Dog skeletons have previously been unearthed from much earlier human burial sites. The unique aspect of this discovery, however, is that the dog was apparently laid to rest with mortuary rites similar to those given the humans. Among other things, he was laid carefully in the grave on his right side, and buried with important objects, such as a long spoon made of antler. Professor Robert Losey of the University of Alberta, who led a study of the site, says the evidence of a carefully orchestrated burial given to the dog (not just involving the dog in a human burial) indicates that “… the people burying this particular dog saw it as a thinking, social being, perhaps on par with humans in many ways.”

Table of Contents

ANIMALS IN AGRICULTURE <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

26.. Organic Standards Evolving

26.. Smithfield Fouls

26.. Tyson Foods' Chicken: Raised with Antibiotics

 

ANIMALS IN LABORATORIES

14.. Adoption Can be an Option for Animals After Their Use in Research

 

ANIMALS IN THE OCEANS

2.... Whales Rally on the Mall

5.... Controversial San Clemente Dam to Go

5.... Stingrays Demonstrate Their Cognitive Abilities

5.... Whale Meat Served in CA

11.. Whaling to be Thrown a Lifeline by IWC

28.. Trainer's Death Revives Cetacean Captivity Debate

 

ANIMALS IN THE WILD

4.... Territory Expands for California Condors

4.... New Mexico Town Opposes Cruel Traps

6.... Wildlife Crossings

13.. The Cruel Practice of Coyote and Fox "Penning"

18.. Wildlife Segregated by the U.S. Border Policy

22.. Science Sacrificed at CITES

25.. AWI Honors Wildlife Protection Heroes

 

GOVERNMENT AND LEGAL AFFAIRS

10.. Aid for Prosecutors of Animal Abuse

10.. Senate Bill to Protect Whales

12.. Lawsuit Filed to Protect Marine Life

12.. Wind Energy Project Modified for Bats

 

BOOKS AND FILMS

27.. Animal Welfare at the Oscars

27.. Elephants on Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity

27.. The Book of Honu: Enjoying and Learning about Hawai‘i’s Sea Turtles

Board Members Pass the Torch

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. AWI would also like to welcome its newest board members, Barbara Buchanan of Vikor Barrier Corp.; Penny Eastman of Mayer, Brown and Maw; and Mary Lee Jensvold of Central Washington University’s Chimpanzee and Human CommunicationInstitute.

Protecting Wildlife at any Cost

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). It is named after the late chief of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Law Enforcement—a trailblazer who pioneered highly effective undercover investigations and "sting" operations. At this year’s Conference of the Parties, certificates of appreciation were personally presented to recipients or their representatives by CITES Secretariat Willem Wijnstekers.

Mr. Paul Cerniglia, US Fish and Wildlife Service Supervisory Wildlife Inspector

Mr. Yvan Lafleur, Canadian Wildlife Service (retired)

Mr. Emmanuel Muyengi, United Republic of Tanzania Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Wildlife Division Officer (awarded posthumously)

Mr. Paulin Ngobobo, Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature
Chief Warden

Mr. Samson Parsimei Ole Sisina, Kenya Wildlife Service Ranger/Driver (awarded posthumously)

Mr. John T. Webb, US Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division Attorney

Last Great Ape Organization, Cameroon, Africa

Rajasthan Police Department, India

Smithfield Stalls

Imprisoning more than one million breeding sows in the U.S., gestation crates used by Smithfield Farms are severe forms of punishment designed with one goal in mind: increased profit.

In 2007, AWI identified Smithfield’s announcement to phase out gestation crates as a hollow public relations stunt, validated by the company itself in July when it maintained, "Due to…operating losses…we have delayed capital expenditures for the program such that we no longer expect to complete the phase-out within 10 years… ." Despite annual revenue exceeding $12 billion, Smithfield has shelved the $300 million project which has significant animal welfare implications.

Designed to minimize labor and feed costs, gestation crates cause physical and psychological disorders, are conducive to disease and can ultimately result in unhealthy food for humans. They are individual, long, narrow, barren crates atop hard slats in which sows endure the majority of their abbreviated, joyless lives. They thwart sows’ intellect and social nature. On a factory farm, a breeding sow is impregnated, confined in a gestation crate for her nearly four-month pregnancy, transferred to an equally barren crate to deliver her piglets, re-impregnated and returned to the gestation crate. If not pregnant or nursing young through the bars of their crates, sows are slaughtered.

Compassionate consumers don’t buy Smithfield’s public relations pretense or their products. The company confusingly has more than 50 brand names some of which market turkey and peanuts. To boycott them, visit: http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/our_company/view.aspx.

Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West



Edited by George Wuerthner and Mollie Matteson

Island Press 2002; Hardback: ISBN 1559639423; 346 pages; $75.00;
Paperback: ISBN 1559639431; 368 pages; $45.00

When picturing the American West, one conjures romantic images of wide-open ranges filled with wild horses, cows, and cowboys. However, upon closer examination you will see corporations and the very rich exploiting millions of acres of public land to the extreme detriment of the land, people, and wildlife that inhabit it.

Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West exposes this abuse through a broad range of essays detailing habitat destruction, species extinction, water pollution and depletion, and waste of taxpayer dollars. The mammoth book is filled with maps and photographs vividly depicting the stark contrast between public lands that have been overgrazed and those given a reprieve, or those that have never been grazed.

An estimated 307 million acres of federal, state, and local lands are leased for raising livestock through federal grazing permits. The 1934 Taylor Grazing Act created these permits to be "revocable, amendable, nonassignable ten-year licenses to graze on public lands" as a way to ensure the lands future viability and family ranching during the economic troubles of the Great Depression. Today, however, large corporations have consumed the Act's intended beneficiaries, the small family ranchers, much as they did the family farmers of the East. Those small ranchers, who remain in operation, struggle to survive, often forced to find additional jobs to supplement their income.

Taxpayer dollars also fund predator
 control methods such as the barbaric
 steel jaw leg-hold trap.
George Wuerthner

Welfare Ranching is filled with statistics clearly showing how a few people like Idaho potato billionaire J.R. Simplot (owner of one of the largest U.S. cattle operations) and the Hewlett and Packard Families, corporations such as MetLife, and Anheuser-Busch, and even the Mormon Church reap vast financial rewards at immense natural and public expense. Simplot's company alone controls 2 million acres of public grazing allotments.

Because federal permits are not retired, those no longer used by smaller operations are simply bought up by the larger operations. It is simple economics why corporations use public lands. Federal permittees pay only $1.35 per month to graze a single cow-calf pair on public lands while the average monthly cost of grazing per cow-calf pair on private lands is $11.10. In addition, subsidies for predator and pest control, drought and fire damage, further make the endeavor more profitable. In a one year period alone, welfare ranching cost taxpayers an estimated $72 million loss for Bureau of Land Management's Range Management Program (2001) and more than $52 million for Forest Service Program (2000).

Most ranching and cattle production in the U.S. exist on private lands while public lands contribute less than three percent of U.S. meat production. Only 1.9 percent of the 1.6 million cattle producers in the U.S. are ranching on all western public lands. Hopefully, this corporate abuse of a precious ecosystem and taxpayer dollars will end while the land and wildlife can still recover.

-By Christopher J. Heyde

DOMINION: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy


By Matthew Scully
St. Martin's Press, New York 2002; ISBN: 0312261470; 464 Pages, $27.95

Matthew Scully's powerful treatise, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, is a passionate, reasoned discourse on the way in which humans (mis)treat animals and a stern call for reform. He craftily weaves together historical, religious and philosophical considerations in his examination of the very essence of our humanity.

The central thesis in Dominion is that we, as an ostensibly humane species, must turn our consideration of nonhuman animals on its head: "Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, the life of a pig or cow or fowl of the air isn't worth much," Scully contends. "But if it's the Grand Scheme we are going by, just what is a plate of bacon or veal worth?"

Scully, a speechwriter for President Bush, implores us simply to act mercifully. Why? "It is just a gracious thing, an act of clemency only more to our credit because the animals themselves cannot ask for it, or rebuke us when we transgress against them, or even repay our kindness."

Scully touches on practically every conceivable animal protection issue in the book, focusing the bulk of his attention on three main case studies: trophy hunting, the decimation of the creatures of the sea, and the horrors of factory farming.

If, in a given situation, we have it in our power either to leave the creature there in his dark pen or let him out into the sun and breeze and feed him and let him play and sleep and cavort with his fellows―for me it's an easy call. Give him a break. Let him go. Let him enjoy his fleeting time on earth, and stop bringing his kind into the world solely to suffer and die.

Investigating Safari Club International and its annual conference, Scully questions how anyone could shoot an elephant, how anyone "could find pleasure in shooting an 8,000-pound mammal who has been walking the earth for fifty-odd years...."  How could they, indeed?

Scully next turns his persuasive prose to the mystery of commercial whaling: "... the great leviathan, these grand mammals of 'a certain intelligence' about which we learn more every year, creatures with no natural predator, not causing any environmental damage or harm to anyone, hunted to the point of annihilation in a single century after millions of years swimming the seas, are consigned to more years of hunting long after humanity has any need for any product derived from them."

Inside animal factories, especially hog "farms," which perhaps draw Scully's greatest ire, he wonders "How does a man rest at night knowing that in this strawless dungeon of pens are all of these living creatures under his care, never leaving except to die, hardly able to turn or lie down, horror-stricken by every opening of the door, biting and fighting and going mad?" And why do we torture these animals so? Scully suggests it stems from "our own boundless capacity for self-delusion, especially where there is money involved."

Scully's rhetoric is not merely theoretical. He calls for justice and mercy in very practical ways: ban the trade in bear parts, stop baiting wild animals and allowing "canned" hunts, rid the U.S. (as is the case in nearly 90 countries) of the draconian steel-jawed leghold trap, stop experimenting on primates, pass a "Humane Farming Act."

Scully's moving words left me nodding in agreement, muttering "yes" and "just so" with each passing page. Dominion is as empowering a book as I've read in many years, and I trust the newly-initiated animal advocate will devour this comprehensive primer with stirring enthusiasm.

-By Adam M. Roberts

Zapping Irradiation

2002 saw the single largest meat recall in history-27.4 million pounds of turkey and chicken! Not surprisingly, Americans suffer from foodborne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 76 million Americans get sick each year, 325,000 are hospitalized, and about 5,000 die due to foodborne pathogens. The majority of these cases are associated with contaminated meat. Cows, pigs, and chickens are subjected to increasingly deleterious housing and slaughter conditions that encourage bacterial contamination. Nonetheless, when people get sick or die industry representatives and the United States Department of Agriculture quickly blame consumers for not cooking meat thoroughly. Most recently, corporate interests are promoting irradiation as a "solution" to the contamination problem.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, a substantial amount of meat is already irradiated. Food irradiation is the deliberate exposure of food to ionizing radiation in an attempt to kill pathogens that cause illness.  Industry representatives advocate irradiation to prevent the public relations disaster of people getting sick and to extend the shelf life of meat for export purposes. Rightly so, there is consumer skepticism of this technology, but in an attempt to deceive the public, industry is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to rename the process "cold pasteurization" and to request that labeling be voluntary. Currently, irradiated meat products sold in grocery stores must bear the international symbol for irradiation and a statement saying they have been "treated by irradiation." However, there is no labeling requirement for irradiated food served in restaurants, schools, or by other food service providers.

Labeled or not, irradiation neither removes contaminants that cause illness nor addresses how they got there in the first place. Meat contamination coincides with a dramatic increase in inhumane factory farming practices, substantial cutbacks in federal food safety inspectors, and dangerously accelerated line speeds at slaughtering and processing facilities.

The most common sources of contamination are the inherently filthy and inhumane conditions of massive factory farms. The use of irradiation does nothing to reform the cruelty animals suffer in factories where pigs are confined in crowded and barren conditions, where sows are housed in crates so narrow they cannot walk or turn around, and where chickens raised for meat spend their short lives indoors, standing in their own feces. It is in these cramped, dark, damp conditions that bacteria proliferate.

Irradiation also masks cruel conditions in slaughterhouses. Rather than irradiate meat at the end of the processing line, USDA should station inspectors, on a full-time basis, for the purpose of enforcing the Humane Slaughter Act, at those critical points in the handling and slaughtering process where violations are most common, such as the unloading and handling areas and the stunning and bleeding areas. Furthermore, line speeds in slaughterhouses must be drastically reduced. Current line speeds prevent animals from being stunned in accordance with the Humane Slaughter Act. Improperly stunned animals thrash about in unnecessary pain and fear resulting in the contamination of meat with partially digested food or fecal matter.

Far from being a solution, irradiation masks the food safety problems caused by inhumane conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses. AWI will continue to work for comprehensive food safety policies that protect farm animals and prevent foodborne illness. For more information visit http://www.citizen.org/cmep/foodsafety/food_irrad/.

Loud Sonar Reined in by Legal Decisions


Two recent court decisions support our claims that Low Frequency Active sonar (LFA), other active sonars, and airguns pose some of the greatest threats to whales, dolphins, and all ocean life across the globe.

On January 24, 2003, U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti blocked Dr. Peter Tyack of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from blasting migrating gray whales-including newborns and pregnant females-off the California coast with 180 to 210 decibels of sound to test their reactions. Dr. Tyack is one of the principal biologists testing active sonars for the U.S. Navy.

Two weeks earlier, Judge Conti issued a temporary restraining order against such studies, allowing us to halt plans to put swimmers in the water to protect whales by blocking sonar transmissions (which cannot occur when humans are in the water).

Animal welfare and environmental organizations brought suit asserting that the National Marine Fisheries Service did not conduct a proper environmental assessment to conclude that Tyack's studies would not pose a significant risk to whales. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bush Administration's attempts to cut red tape and circumvent comprehensive environmental assessments are increasingly being "tripped up in the courts."

In a second court decision last October, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth LaPorte imposed a global ban on the Navy's deployment and testing of LFA sonar, agreeing with arguments offered by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that the device poses an unacceptable risk to marine mammals.

However, Judge LaPorte also agreed with the Navy that the device was needed to find quiet enemy submarines. She directed the opposing attorneys to find a place where the intensely loud sonar could be tested. The two sides struck a deal allowing LFA testing in about a million square miles of ocean around the Mariana Islands in the Pacific, specifically avoiding the coasts of Japan and the Philippines. Clearly, any LFA deployment is unacceptable.

This is just the first phase of this court challenge. In issuing the original injunction in October, the judge found that it was likely that NRDC will prevail in its attempt to win a permanent injunction on LFA in her court over the next few months. The current deal allows continued testing during this period.

Dolphins Turned into Killers



During World War II, Japan was criticized for strapping incendiary bombs on bats and unleashing them on the Pacific Northwest, hoping they might roost under eaves and cause fires. Now our own Navy has announced that it may use bottlenose dolphins in any upcoming war against Iraq.

The Navy refers to sixty dolphins long held in San Diego as "soldiers of the sea" and "systems" for finding mines and for "neutralizing" enemy swimmers.

This Navy dolphin, shown with a
 device used for finding and marking
 underwater mines, may be deployed
 in a war against Iraq.
U.S. Navy

Dolphins were first captured for the Navy in 1959 but were classified as secret until the 1970s. They were used in Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam to kill enemy divers, in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and even in San Diego Bay during the 1996 Republican Convention where dolphins were used as underwater patrols to prevent terrorism.

Besides the obvious harm done to the Navy dolphins themselves, with all of the attendant problems of taking them from their homes and families to a life of captivity and servitude, AWI questions the wisdom of making any dolphin in the Persian Gulf area into a potential combatant and therefore fair game.

Unfortunately, it appears that this bad idea has already spread to other countries. An official of the Ammunition Factory Kirkee (AFK) in India, Mr. O.P. Yadav, confirmed that the Indian Navy has successfully trained dolphins to plant mines on sensitive areas of enemy ships. He claimed dolphins, "regarded as one of the most intelligent creatures" are useful in deep-water missions "because they will cut the human risk factor."

Turning dolphins into weapons to kill humans is unacceptable and immoral.

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