AWI Quarterly

China's Torture Chambers

 

The results of an extensive undercover investigation into China's cruel bear bile farms by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) were revealed in a new report discussed at the recent meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Nairobi, Kenya.

WSPA's report, Inside China's Torture Chambers, documents how thousands of bears are kept in horrific conditions in hundreds of farms across China, producing approximately 7000 kg of bear bile every year for the traditional Chinese medicine market.

WSPA fears that China will apply to register some of its bear farms with CITES (none currently registered), thereby circumventing the existing international ban on trade in endangered bear parts. Bears from facilities approved by the CITES Secretariat can have their parts sold in global commercial trade while wild bears of the same species ostensibly are protected from such profitable exploitation. Such a move would hasten the demise of bears in the wild, with many taken from the wild each year to restock the farms, and encourage the continued development of this barbaric form of "farming."

The bears kept on these farms endure the most appalling levels of cruelty and neglect, with many wounded and scarred due to the friction caused by being kept in tiny metal cages suspended above the ground. They have no choice but to lie squashed in their cages on a bed of bars, some with a constant stream of bile seeping from their stomachs, where an open wound allows workers to insert a tube or piece of metal to "tap" the bile twice a day. Bears may stop producing bile after just a few years, after which they outlive their usefulness and are left to die or killed for their paws and gall bladders. A single bear paw may sell for several hundred dollars - almost a year's salary for the average worker in China.


Photo, Bile seeps from a bear's abdomen at a Chinese bear farm in Heilongchiang Province. (Fisherman/WSPA)

Killing Continues in Zimbabwe

Following AWI's article in the Winter 2001 issue, "Animals Caught in Zimbabwe's Anarchical Land Grab," we received a letter from Karen Paolillo of the Turgwe Hippo Trust, Save Valley Conservancy, in Zimbabwe. An excerpt of her tellingly heartrending and personal letter appears below.

...three weeks ago my husband and I were patrolling upstream of our home checking that all was safe for the hippos who are under our care. We find a freshly dead female kudu (an antelope) hanging from a snare. A snare is a wire noose attached to a tree which, when the animal goes to browse a leaf, finds its neck caught, pulls back and the noose tightens until the animal either breaks the attached wire and has a lingering death as the remaining noose chokes its life away, or dies like in the case of this female attached to the wire hanging from its struggle to be free. We walk around the area, we find a further 20 snares, with three more dead animals, two kudus and one impala, these animals had been dead for at least two weeks, no poacher had bothered to recover his spoil!

Then I see movement, to the right of the dead female a shape appears hidden in the grass. A live kudu female baby about seven weeks of age. She was nervous, like any wild animal, where was her mum, (hanging from a tree) what could she do? For four days I tried to gain her trust. On the fifth day she disappeared. Three weeks later I went back into the area and there she was. She has survived; she is thin, very thin but alive and still lively enough to run away from the human enemy.

In the meantime the owner of that piece of land sent his game scouts back to check for further snares; they found 131! Poachers now work in groups of up to 30 men. They scour an area working singularly laying their snares, or shooting with their bows and arrows at any bird or animal they see.... They remove the meat as a group and make a lot of money selling it to the highest bidder.

...These days the poaching is big business. The poachers say they are the bosses, they are the masters, they listen to nobody....The police are on the side of lawlessness in that if a scout tries to protect himself against a poacher, it is the scout who ends up in the jail, not the poacher!

I see around me animals daily being killed and there does not appear to be any sunshine at the end of this extremely long and dark tunnel. For us that work for love, the deaths of all of these animals, not for food but for greed and money brings so much pain. Please spare a moment of your time and think about that baby kudu and please try and help this Country to return to the peaceful land it was but a short while ago.

If you wish to become a foster parent or obtain more information please contact: Karen Paolillo, Turgwe, Hippo Trust, Hippo Haven, PO Box 322, Chiredzi, Zimbabwe, phone: 263- (0) 24-456 or email at paolillo@mutare.icon.co.zw.


Captions:

Above: A snared female kudu, one of the beautiful African antelopes and one of the many species of wildlife cruelly caught in the land-grab in Zimbabwe.

Right: 18 month old Flood on the left and 6 month old Nelly Storm on the right-two hippos rescued and residing at the Turgwe Hippo Trust, which was created after severe droughts in 1991 and 1992. (Karen Paolillo)


Report: Japan is Top Importer of Endangered Species

 

According to Kyodo News Service, February 8, 2000, "Japan in 1996 was the world's top importer of endangered tortoises and birds whose trading is restricted by an international convention, a survey by a Japanese group monitoring wildlife trafficking showed Tuesday.

"Japan also ranked second as an importer of live primates and orchid-type plants listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

            "…According to the survey, Japan bought 29,051 tortoises from abroad, absorbing some 55% of the species traded worldwide, and purchased 136,179 wild and bred birds, or 43% of all birds trafficked globally.

            "…A total of 5,374 live primates such as cynomolgus monkeys and common squirrel monkeys were brought to Japan, the world's second largest amount for trade. Japan was also the second largest importer of furs of animals belonging to the cat family…"

From Antigua and Barbuda to Venezuela, Another "Free" Trade Agreement

By Adam M. Roberts

Thanks to the multinational commercial take over of the global economy, Americans not versed in the lingo of international trade and foreign investment have been forced to learn a new vocabulary with terms such as "Government Procurement," "Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards" and "Technical Barriers to Trade." We've also witnessed a new civil society uprising in the streets of Seattle, Washington, DC and Quebec, against faceless trade bureaucrats who, engaging in their machinations behind closed doors, develop policies that can change the way we farm, what we eat and how we protect endangered species.

The newest force in this global takeover of democratic free will is the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). FTAA is modeled on the chilling North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which ultimately yielded the World Trade Organization (WTO). Having failed to implement the pro-corporation Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), FTAA negotiators just extracted insidious provisions from NAFTA and WTO to create the largest free trade zone in the world-affecting 800 million people in thirty-four nations.

Negotiations on FTAA began in 1994 and are scheduled for completion by 2005. President Bush remarked, "A recent summit in Quebec symbolized the new reality in our hemisphere." Unfortunately, the "new reality" is dismal-in fact, the Quebec meeting of dignitaries was held behind concrete and chain link fence barriers, preventing protestors from making their views known. Part of the inherent problem in assessing the impacts of FTAA text is that it has not been made widely available for public review, but lessons learned from NAFTA allow for general assessments about FTAA's potential impact.

FTAA should make it more difficult to protect family farmers and fight transnational corporate agribusinesses. FTAA's negotiating group on Agriculture's mission is to improve market access for agricultural products and "prevent protectionist trade practices and facilitate trade in the hemisphere." FTAA will allow corporations to sue governments for lost profit based on national regulations or laws. So if Smithfield Foods tries to force pork products onto consumers of an FTAA member nation as it has attempted in Poland, and the government resists, Smithfield can sue that government, whether it's in Bolivia or Suriname, for lost profit. So could Weyerhauser sue if prevented from clear cutting a forest, or a company affected by a labor strike. This framework would increasingly cause the gutting of environmental laws and labor rights considered too expensive to protect in a world organized for maximum extraction of corporate profit.

Maude Barlow, a Director on the Board of the International Forum on Globalization, said, "Under the new global food system, agriculture, in which farmers grow food for people and communities, has been transformed into a system of agribusiness, in which transnational food corporations produce food for profit and food safety standards and the rights of farmers are of little or no concern."

Barlow continues, "The FTAA draft, as it now stands, contains no safeguards for the environment." It will be harder to protect threatened and endangered wildlife. While under GATT foreign nations challenged our strong laws prohibiting importation of dolphin deadly tuna, under FTAA, not only can Latin and South American governments challenge our conservation laws, but foreign fishing fleet owners, tuna canneries and other corporations potentially could sue the US as well!

President Bush is urging Congress to grant him fast track negotiating power, now dubbed "trade promotion authority," which sounds misleadingly benign. This prevents Congress from altering the text of trade agreements negotiated by the White House. According to Reuters, Bush warned that protecting the environment and labor standards "must not be an excuse for self-defeating protectionism." FTAA will not protect the environment and animal protection laws adequately, similar to its global predecessors. The sad global reality is to push for corporate free trade agreements instead of democratic fair trade agreements.


Drawing by Kirk Anderson©

Join the Fight to End Abuse of Laying Hens

 

Millions of laying hens are subjected to three shameful cruelties: forced molting, debeaking and battery cages. At last, the industry is listening to the sharp criticism of its routine practices. Now is the time to write to the head of the United Egg Producers with a strong protest against this unnecessary pain and suffering inflicted on the innocent and helpless birds.

1.)  Forced molting is induced by denying all food and in some cases water, to the caged hens. For 5-14 days all sustenance is withheld. The industry does this to induce a molt. The hen loses her feathers, and when finally given food and water again, the survivors lay bigger eggs.

2.)  Debeaking requires the hen's beak to be cut through so she can't peck the other hens jammed into a cramped battery cage in which four or five hens are forced to exist. Scientific studies have shown that the cut beak causes permanent pain to the hens.

3.)  Battery cages are so small that none of the victimized hens can even spread their wings. Their claws sometimes grow around the wires of the cage floor, causing more pain and distress. Hens have a strong urge to dust bathe, to run about and eat natural foods, and to build and lay their eggs in a nest where the chicks can hatch—but every pleasure is denied them, all for the sake of commercial gain.

The United Egg Producers (UEP) is at last realizing that it is being seriously criticized. United Poultry Concerns' Karen Davis and Veterinarians for Animal Rights' Ned Buyukmihci and Teri Barnato have led the fight. Both Karen and Ned have doctorate degrees, and their words carry weight with publications as diverse as The Washington Post and Feedstuffs, the big agribusiness trade journal. On May 1st, Feedstuffs told its readers that UEP "recently named an advisory committee to reconsider the guidelines in view of new scientific and social trends."

On April 30th, Marc Kaufman's article "Cracks in the Egg Industry" appeared on the front page of The Washington Post. He quoted the author of a bill in the California Assembly to outlaw forced molting, Ted Lempert, who said, "I was first shocked by the practice because of the horrible cruelty, but the health issues really demand attention." Kaufman's article states, "Federal statistics show salmonella in eggs was associated with 28,644 illnesses and 79 deaths from 1985 to 1998. Several studies concluded that there was also a link between the stress of forced molting of hens and salmonella in them and their eggs."

UEP has decided, after receiving thousands of critical letters, that it needed to appoint an animal welfare advisory committee to revise UEP's current guidelines.


ACTION Please write to the president of the United Egg Producers and tell him you don't want to eat eggs that come from hens who have been de-beaked and are in cramped battery cages.  Tell him you are appalled that hens are starved for 5 to 14 days in an effort to increase their production.  You might mention that you are shocked to learn that hens are starved and deprived of water to save a mere 4 cents on a dozen eggs.  Please tell him that you will never eat eggs again unless they come from happy hens on humanely operated farms.

He may be addressed:

Mr. Albert E. Pope, President, UEP
1303 Hightower Trail, #200
Atlanta, Georgia 30350
telephone: (770) 587-5871,
fax: (770) 587-0041
email: alpope@mindspring.com 
website: http://www.unitedegg.org/ 


Top Photo, Rescued battery hens view the natural world for the first time.

Bottom Photo, The same hens a few weeks later.

What's at stake in Poland? This is what is at stake:

 

Poland is the last oasis of traditional organic farming in Europe. Tens of millions of acres of enormously productive farmland are tilled without chemicals. Poland contains the last large, free flowing, unpolluted rivers in Europe, the Bug and the Narew. It has magnificent mountains, wetlands and forests, more parkland and protected area than the four largest EU nations combined and by far the most abundant wildlife remaining in Europe. Poland is the only potential EU member with large areas of unspoiled land.

This is the prize that has drawn the agribusiness giants, backed by international bankers, to Polish soil. The first efforts of Big Ag to seize control have been largely thwarted. Earlier this spring, after having washed through the Sejm on a tide of foreign lobbying money, an effort to destroy the Polish Animal Welfare Act was smashed in the Senat by the intervention of the great Polish film director, Andrzej Wajda and other directors and performers. I called it the second "Miracle of the Vistula."

The biggest, the only really durable, obstacle to US style agribusiness in Poland is the stubborn resistance of Poland's peasantry. If their resistance is broken, big money will prevail. The stakes are huge. The struggle is only beginning.

-Tom Garrett

Mexican Ecological Group Blockades Logging Road to Save Forest

Under the headline "Jailed Mexican Wins Environmental Prize" Sam Dillon wrote a report of Rodolfo Montiel's heroic struggle to save the forest near his village north of Acapulco (The New York Times, April 5, 2000). The transnational Idaho logging company, Boise Cascade, and all the government officials to whom Montiel wrote, were unmoved by his reports that laws were being broken, rivers drying up, and thousands of fish dying.

"Our defense of the forest is a struggle for our way of life," he wrote, "The earth without trees becomes a desert, because the soul of the water lives in the cool of the forest."

Montiel's formal education ended after first grade, but his lyrical plea for the trees was wisely followed up in spring 1998 by his peasant group's blockade of logging roads to stop the timber trucks. According to Dillon's article, "Gunmen have since killed several members of Mr. Montiel's rural ecological organization and last May soldiers seized and tortured Mr. Montiel, he said, accusing him of drug and weapons crimes.

"The charges were riddled with contradictions, but were enough to send him to a penitentiary pending a felony trial. One of the human rights lawyers defending him has been kidnapped, twice."

Now the Goldman Foundation has awarded him its prestigious $125,000 environmental prize and Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience.


ACTION Write to the President of Mexico protesting the mistreatment and imprisonment of Rodolfo Montiel.

Address your letters to

President Ernesto Zedillo,
c/o Embassy of Mexico,
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Washington, D.C. 20006

Kennedy Presents Schweitzer Medal to Lepper

On Monday, June 11th, 2001, in front of a packed Mansfield Room of the United States Capitol, the Albert Schweitzer Medal was awarded to Andrzej Lepper. Lepper, who has vowed to stop "concentration camps for animals" from taking root in Poland, is the charismatic President of Samoobrona ("Self-defense" in Polish), a major Polish rural union. "The motto that I have adopted and that is adopted by the rest of Samoobrona," Lepper highlighted, "says that if a person is not capable of loving animals and nature they will never be capable of loving another human being."

Early in 1999, Samoobrona forced the Polish government to curb a flood of agricultural imports from the European Union by blockading roads across Poland. In September 1999, after visiting areas in North Carolina infested by industrial hog factories, Lepper launched a campaign, supported by AWI, to prevent Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork production company, from realizing its goal of building a network of hog factories in Poland. By June 2000, Smithfield CEO Joe Luter was forced to admit to the Washington Post that his plan to establish US "industrial-style" pig farming has no immediate future in Poland.

"Farm animals," Lepper once told the University of Michigan Law Society, "like any other living beings, possess natural instincts that need to be expressed. It is essential, therefore, to do everything in our power to allow animals raised on our farms an opportunity to live their lives in the most natural conditions possible, to treat them with respect, dignity and empathy. The right to dignity, in the case of farm animals, is the right to live without suffering and without being isolated from their natural environment."

In his remarks to the gathering (translated by Agnes Van Volkenburgh, who represents Poland on AWI's International Committee), Lepper criticized the globalists who "pursue money at all costs without paying attention to the health of people, without paying attention to the health and welfare of animals, without paying attention to nature." Lepper, the indefatigable Polish farm leader, warned Smithfield Foods Vice President, General Counsel and Senior Advisor to the Chairman, Richard Poulson, that in his efforts to expand into and invade Poland he "will always feel the breath of Samoobrona on his neck and if that is not enough he will have to feel the fist of Polish farmers." He concluded: "This medal is a huge honor not only for me, but for the entire Polish movement that's involved in this battle for the welfare of animals, the humane treatment of animals, for our environment, and for the safe future of our planet."

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Water Keeper Alliance and a professor at Pace University Law School, presented the award. Water Keeper Alliance has 67 keepers around the country who seek to protect and restore waterways, including those ravaged by pollution from animal factories. Water Keeper Alliance is leading a broad legal assault against hog factories, which Kennedy has characterized as "extraordinarily cruel" and lamented what he termed the corporate hog farm's "pollution based prosperity." During the ceremony, Kennedy recalled a conversation he had with Lepper after the Polish leader toured corporate hog farms along the Neuse River in North Carolina. Kennedy remembered the poignant and provocative reaction that Lepper had, in which he was reminded of "the large state farms that were created during the communist years in Poland that were also notorious for their pollution and their capacity for treating not only the human beings who worked on the land but also the animals themselves as units of production, ignoring the consequences to the community and the environment and public health in their drive to produce short term cash."

Kennedy asserted: "I think the thing that Animal Welfare Institute has recognized better than anybody else is that the fate of animals is also our fate….We can't get away with this kind of cruelty to the creatures with whom we share this planet without having some dire karmic consequences to ourselves." Kennedy praised Lepper's heroism and courage for "standing up to these bullies" who try to move industrial hog production all over the world, and for Lepper's efforts to protect "our environment, human dignity, the dignity of these animals and of future generations." Kennedy congratulated him "for the successful battle that [he has] waged against this criminal, bullying, outlaw industry."

It was Tom Garrett, a rancher from Wyoming, who had the brilliant idea of inviting Andrzej Lepper and a delegation of Polish activists on a tour of North Carolina and Virginia to observe hog factory farming, then across the country to visit humane pig farms in the Midwest. Tom has been an advisor to the Animal Welfare Institute for many years on a variety of subjects from global wildlife Treaties to steel jaw leghold traps. Tom referred to the acute battle against corporate hog farms and the collaborative international war Samoobrona and AWI waged against them: "Through Diane Halverson's videos and Andrzej Lepper's political right cross, we stopped Smithfield cold in its grandiose scheme to take over Polish pig production with a big network of factory hog farms."

Diane Halverson, AWI's farm animal advisor, has devoted herself to preventing the suffering of millions of pigs condemned to life imprisonment in metal and concrete crates in hog factories. She wrote AWI's Humane Standards for independent family farmers who raise pigs on pasture or in straw bedded barns. Diane noted during her remarks that institutional cruelty such as that in corporate hog farms is often overlooked, but quoted Albert Schweitzer who said, "Whenever an animal is somehow forced into the service of men, every one of us must be concerned for any suffering it bears on that account."

The Animal Welfare Institute, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, honors individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the protection of animals with the Albert Schweitzer Medal. This tribute, inaugurated in 1953, has been awarded to deserving individuals ranging from those of modest position who have significantly bettered the welfare of animals on a hands-on basis, to towering public figures who have engendered important changes that have improved the lot of hundreds of thousands of animals. Past recipients include Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Rachel Carson, Senator Bob Dole and Jane Goodall.

"The ethic of Reverence for Life prompts us to keep each other alert to what troubles us and to speak and act dauntlessly together in discharging the responsibility that we feel. It keeps us watching together for opportunities to bring some sort of help to animals in recompense for the great misery that men inflict upon them, and thus for a moment we escape from the incomprehensible horror of existence."

-Dr. Albert Schweitzer


Captions: 

Top:  Robert F. Kennedy Jr., presenting Schweitzer award to Andrzej Lepper. 

Bottom:  Farm animals, such as these endangered Polish spotted pigs of Zlotniki, "like any other living beings, possess natural instincts that need to be expressed" said Polish farm union leader Andrzej Lepper. On June 11, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. presented Mr. Lepper with AWI's Albert Schweitzer Medal. (Jen Rinick/AWI)


$10,000 Reward for Stolen Labrador Retriever

 

My name is Dewayne Eubanks. I am no animal rights activist—I am a neurosurgeon, an avid hunter, conservationist, dog lover, horseman and all-around country boy. I was brought up to believe in caring for the animals that we own and I love my 4 year old black Lab, Rebel, second only to my kids. He was stolen from my home on December 18, 1999. I have solid information that he was taken by (or for) a nearby "buncher" who sells dogs to research facilities.

Rebel is a 70 pound male, has a tattoo on inner thigh (but it is extremely hard to see), and a Home Again Microchip implanted. He had cut his left rear leg (inside "knee") about two weeks before being stolen and had two staples in place when he was taken.

He was taken from my home on County Road 464 in Jonesboro, AR. The thieves are believed to have been in an older car, dilapidated, and probably 2 men. They were seen in an old, grayish midsize car working this area again a few days later.

I would appreciate it if you could keep your eyes open for my friend. I will pay $3,000 dollars for his safe return, no questions asked. I will pay $7,000 more for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the thieves and others involved in the conspiracy.

As a neurosurgeon, I support animal research for worthwhile purposes when the data cannot be acquired any other way and when the animals are properly procured and properly cared for— but NOT WHEN THEY ARE OUR PETS THAT HAVE BEEN STOLEN.

Thank You, K. Dewayne Eubanks, M.D.

— Excerpted from a letter posted on the internet

Consumers Can Save the Chilean Sea Bass

In the Winter 2001 issue of the AWI Quarterly, we noted the conservation horror surrounding the fishing for Patagonian toothfish, sold commercially as "Chilean sea bass." The campaign is paying off. Whole Foods and Wild Oats markets have already stopped selling Chilean sea bass.

Illegal fishing for toothfish in the Southern Ocean is hazardous not only for the fish themselves, but for other wildlife in and around the waters. According to The Antarctica Project, "It is common practice in the illegal fishery to dynamite the [Sperm and Killer] whales when they are discovered in the area where the fishing takes place" and "...hundreds of thousands of endangered albatrosses and petrels dive for the [fish] bait and become hooked and drowned."

You can help this embattled fish species and the other magnificent imperiled species that share the toothfish's ocean home by urging your supermarket not to carry Chilean sea bass.


Caption:  Wandering Albatross drowned on pirates' illegal longline. (G. Robertson)

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