AWI Quarterly

Helping Hands for Hedgehogs

Helping Hands for Hedgehogs

Victim of one of the latest exotic pet crazes appears to be the African Pygmy hedgehog. Sadly, many of these animals are being mass-produced in "mill-type" situations where they are viewed as easily replenishable commodities. Novel pets, hedgehogs are oftentimes purchased by individuals who have done little research into how to properly care for them.

Deirdre, a victim of neglect, was rescued from a family in Pennsylvania, a state that prohibits keeping hedgehogs as pets. Hedgehog Welfare Society

Although hedgehogs are protected under the Animal Welfare Act, the law's regulations are overly broad to cover a wide range of species and do not provide specific requirements for cage size, exercise opportunities, appropriate weaning age, and proper environmental temperatures to avoid hibernation attempts and possible death-by-freezing.

The Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS) is an organization that exists to protect the well being of hedgehogs through rescue, research, and education of the people who care for hedgehogs. The HWS expends most of its resources on rescue of unwanted and abandoned hedgehogs, who are frequently purchased on impulse from pet stores. Members of the American and Canadian HWS have rescued hundreds of hedgehogs in the past year from situations where they were  neglected, unwanted, and/or in desperate need of veterinary care.

Another objective of the HWS is advocacy, targeted at breeders and pet stores. The HWS has filed numerous complaints to the USDA regarding unlicensed pet stores and breeding facilities that practice inadequate animal care. These include reports of hedgehogs who have been left injured and bleeding in cages, animals in over-crowded conditions without sufficient room for movement or exercise, unattended cages piled with two inches of feces, hedgehogs soaked in urine, cannibalism, and hedgehogs shipped in bulk to pet stores across the country prior to healthy weaning age. Many unlicensed facilities have been inspected and, once informed of licensing and care requirements, agreed to cease sales of hedgehogs. However, there have been far more occasions where no action is taken in response to the complaint.

For more information about hedgehog rescue or to report abuse, please contact the HWS at http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org

 

The Water Keeper Alliance Institutes Legal Attack on Pig Factories

On December 6, 2000, at press conferences in Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of the Water Keeper Alliance announced the launch of a broad legal assault against America's large pig factories. The Water Keeper Alliance and a coalition of supporters have turned to private attorneys and law firms to pursue enforcement of environmental protection regulations. This is necessary, said Kennedy, since "Federal environmental prosecution against the meat industry has effectively ceased because Congress has eviscerated the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement budget while the political clout of powerful pork producers has trumped state enforcement efforts. This collapse of environmental enforcement has allowed corporate hog factories to proliferate with huge pollution-based profits."

The plaintiffs are seeking enforcement of state and federal laws, including the federal Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Clean Air Act. Kennedy added: "What we are dealing with here is a crime….  And they should have to stop today so we can get back to the family farmers and the tried and true way of preserving America's landscape and waterways." Describing the confinement of sows in crates so small they cannot walk or turn around, Kennedy called pig factories "extraordinarily cruel." Jan Schlictmann, a renowned environmental attorney, referred to modern hog factories as "animal concentration camps."

Attorneys who are committed to "civilizing" industrial hog operations stood with Mr. Kennedy and coalition members at the press conference. Coalition members and press conference speakers included family farmers Terry Spence and Rolf Christen of Citizens Legal Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), Sierra Club representative Scott Dye, Leland Swenson, President of National Farmers' Union, Brother David Andrews of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) and Diane Halverson, Farm Animal Advisor of the Animal Welfare Institute.

Following are excerpts from the statement made by Diane Halverson. "Industrial hog producers have driven independent farm families out of business, and in doing so, have decimated the culture of humane husbandry that once characterized American farming. Traditionally, farm families took joy in good stockmanship and pride in the robust health of their herds. Industrial agriculture, on the other hand, calls animals into existence, and before it kills them, makes them suffer.

"For the corporate investor the animal is not a sentient creature, but a 'production unit.' The corporation is intent on three things: maximizing the number of 'production units' in each building; eliminating the need for husbandry skills among workers; and minimizing the number of workers. To do this, sows on the industrial farm are permanently confined in coffin-like crates, unable to walk or even turn around. All pigs are denied bedding in order that their manure can be liquefied for easy handling; this liquefaction makes it possible to concentrate huge numbers of animals on one site. Liquefied manure, running into streams, seeping into groundwater and emitting toxic gases, causes the environmental and public health problems discussed today. It is inevitable that a system which grossly violates the biology of the animals inside the factory will wreak havoc on everyone and everything outside of the factory.

"Sow deaths are common inside factory sow operations. The death rate of some herds is as high as 20%. The factory system is characterized by widespread routine application of antibiotics to promote growth of piglets, promote sow productivity and to prevent outbreaks of disease in the hostile conditions of the factory. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the routine, subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in agriculture as a major contributor to antibiotic resistance in humans. WHO recommends switching from industrial management of animals to more extensive, enriched housing methods to reduce the distress caused to the animals and thereby reduce the need for antibiotics.

"AWI is proud to support the effort announced today, to expose and rein in an industry characterized by callous disregard for society, our environment and animals."


Top Photo: Attendees included attorneys fighting the hog producers and representatives of organizations supporting the legal battle. Among others pictured here: Sue Jarrett, Global Resource Action Center for the Environment; Scott Dye, Sierra Club; Terry Spence, CLEAN; Leland Swenson, National Farmers' Union; and Brother David Andrews, NCRLC. 

Bottom Photo: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of the Water Keeper Alliance, and Diane Halverson holding a pig.


Dolphins Turned into Killers

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.

 

Don't Order the Sea Bass

 

Chilean Sea Bass with Almonds and Pistachios in Garlic Sauce? Baked Ginger Snap Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Kiwi Lime Sauce? Coast to coast, Chilean Sea Bass can be found on restaurant menus. But when eateries offer such fish, they actually serve Patagonian toothfish, a species being rapidly depleted in the Southern Ocean. 

The long-lived fish can survive to be 80 years old but has a difficult time recovering from over-exploitation with its slow reproductive rate; this is compounded by the fact that unregulated, unethical pirate fishers take toothfish at unsustainable levels. The Honorable Warren Truss, Australian Fisheries Minister, in September stated that a vessel suspected of poaching Patagonian toothfish had been sighted in Australian waters: "The suspect vessel's crew attempted to conceal its identity by obscuring its name and registration number and when approached fled the scene."

The Antarctica Project reports, "If pirate fishing continues at its current rate, scientists estimate that the Patagonian toothfish could be commercially extinct in less than three years." The Project asserts that pirate fishers are responsible for over eighty % of the total catch - valued at five hundred million dollars. Toothfish fishing also causes the slaughter of numerous non-target species. Over 300,000 sea birds have reportedly been killed after being hooked on the fishers' gear and drowned. This includes the majestic albatross—twenty species of albatross are listed on the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

According to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), "The high level of illegal and unregulated fishing for toothfish…threatens stocks of toothfish through over-fishing, and populations of seabirds through incidental capture and mortality during longlining." Despite this recognition, however, the 23 participating CCAMLR governments still set toothfish fishing quotas at its October 2000 meeting. Mark Stevens of The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition lamented that the participants "all but ignored scientists warnings [about] the massive pirate fishing of toothfish in Antarctica's oceans." Stevens continued: "CCAMLR is simply making wild guesses when it comes to estimating how much toothfish pirate fishers are pulling out of the Southern Ocean ecosystem."

Ducks-Yet Another Animal Factory Victim

As the old adage puts it, ducks are not adapted to exist without access to water, but that is exactly what 24 million ducks being raised in deplorably inhumane conditions on duck factories throughout the US are being forced to do each year.

Part of the ducks' sensitive upper bills are cut off, as shown above at Grimaud Farms, causing excruciating life-long suffering. (Viva!USA)


The most common ducks in these factories descend from the largely aquatic Mallard. They can never fly or swim and live in filthy sheds crammed together with hundreds of other ducks. They are denied access to sufficient water for bathing and preening, which is essential to their health. Such deprivation often results in serious eye problems and eventual blindness. They can barely walk because of bone deformities caused by slatted or wire mesh floors.

One of the cruelest practices is bill trimming or "debilling," which destroys the ducks' ability to fulfill their natural instincts to preen and forage for food. The very sensitive top portion of the bill is burned off with a stationary blade or cut off with a knife or scissors without anesthesia, in an attempt to prevent pecking and cannibalizing of other ducks in the overcrowded shed. According to Sarah Stai, a Muscovy duck expert from the University of Miami, this practice does not necessarily address confrontation among Muscovy ducks, which are known to fight with their feet and wings.

According to lauren Ornelas of Viva!USA, the organization responsible for exposing the cruelty perpetrated on ducks, the largest supplier of factory raised ducks in the US is Maple Leaf Farms headquartered in Indiana, which produces about 15 million ducks a year. Grimaud Farms, located in California and is a major producer of Muscovy factory-raised ducks, processes as many as 8,000 ducks a week. Muscovy ducks are the only modern domestic duck not descended from the Mallard. Their wild counterparts are strong flying birds that inhabit wetlands near wooded areas, using trees for roosting and nesting. Despite misrepresentations by duck factory operators, the Muscovy duck is indeed a species of waterfowl and does require full body access to water.

Colored Wild Muscovies are drastically different than their domestic cousins  raised for food. (USDA)


Grimaud contacted the University of California at Davis to evaluate its duck husbandry practices. A summary of the study released by Ralph Ernst, Extension Poultry Specialist at the UC Davis, confirmed that Grimaud is indeed an industrial duck factory. The report justifies Grimaud's practice of bill trimming and confinement as a "carefully planned program for duck husbandry that considers the welfare of the ducks under their care." Mr. Ernst's writings clearly demonstrate his support and promotion of the cruel methods employed by those in the intensive animal factory industry.

Based on the initial review and findings at Grimaud, Mr. Ernst is developing a set of guidelines for raising ducks. AWI received a draft copy of the UC Davis study from Grimaud for review and comments after requesting to discuss the issue. Following consultations with avian veterinarians from the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights and the Muscovy duck expert at the University of Miami, AWI determined that the study, if enacted as written, is far from humane.

If you shop in any of the following stores please urge them to stop selling ducks raised in cruel and inhumane duck factories such as Maple Leaf and Grimaud Farms: Wal-Mart SuperCenter, Kroger's, Albertson's, Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods/Fresh Fields.

Grimaud-Full of Foie Gras

Grimaud is not only the leading supplier of Muscovy ducks in the US, it also provides ducklings to Sonoma Valley Foie Gras, one of only two foie gras producers in the US-the other being Hudson Valley Foie Gras. However, this relationship does not end with the ducklings. Grimaud then markets the final Sonoma Valley Foie Gras product. Even though Grimaud claims not to be involved in the inhumane process of force-feeding the ducks, they do handle almost every other aspect of this cruel business.

Welfare Ranching The Subsidized Destruction of the American West

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

 

The Kingdom of the Pigs

By Vangelis Stoyannis

The traveller heading from the city of Trikala towards the Pindos mountain range (Southern Alps) sees the imposing passage of the "Gate" opening in front of him. Through this passage—which looks like a wound opened by the sword of a Giant during the mythical times—Lethe, the river of Oblivion, flows towards the plain which emerged from the bottom of the inner sea. Through this Gate, 13 centuries before Christ, the servants of Aesculapius passed, bringing the miraculous mountain herbs to the father of Medicine. Through this Gate nations and civilizations, merchants and invaders passed towards the plain. In the 11th century B.C. the Doric Nation, and in the 2nd century B.C. the Roman Legions passed, heading towards Pidna for the battle which determined the fate of the Macedonian King Perseus.

The mountains, the Gate and the plain. The cradle of the 32 greek nations, their passage towards history and the place where the discovery of agriculture and stockbreeding gave birth to civilization. The Gate, of legends and history, is a place of rare beauty, imposing and ancient which, when you get closer, makes you feel the unbearable burden of history on your shoulders. The Gate leads also to the ancient kingdoms of the farmers, who cultivated wheat for the first time, and the stockbreeders who utilized the acorns, chestnuts and the rich mountain grasslands in order to feed their herds of goats, sheep, pigs and small cows. People still cultivate wheat in the plain and still pasture their animals on the mountains.

November 2000. A few kilometers on the right of the Gate, on the mountain roots, on the line where the short mountain range of Hasia connects Pindos with Olympus and marks the plain towards the north, there lie the stockbreeders' villages: Pialia, Megarhi, Oihalia, Diasselo, Eleftherohori.

Since the ancient times, Pialia has been a village of pig breeders and shepherds. Each family owns about 30 female pigs and 200 sheep or goats. The village of Pialia is a place where the 21st century meets the 13th century B.C. Today the village, built on the foot of the mountain, lives simultaneously in two ages. The families living at the side of the plain breed their pigs in small, industrial-type farms. The families living at the side of the mountain, breed free ranging pigs in the forest. Their farms are simply small, wooden constructions, under ancient walls (possibly the walls of the ancient kingdom). There, they enclose the female pigs when they give birth in order to keep the newborns safe from wolves and bears until they are a month old. Then, the young pigs and their mothers are freed into the forest. Apart from some corn that they give to the animals in order to get them used to returning to the farm at night, the animals feed on what they find in the ancient forest: roots, acorns, chestnuts, and mushrooms.

Those are strange pigs, not like those bred in the industrial farms. Their owners crossbreed pigs of ancient races with wild boars they catch on the mountain, the result being that almost every farm breeds its own race of animals. Their productivity and output are extremely close to the output of improved hogs which are bred at the industrial farms of the plain. The health level of those animals could produce a nervous breakdown of the veterinarians and antibiotic salesmen of the 21st century.

These are stockbreeders who live in two ages. Their houses have the comforts of a 21st century house, they themselves use mobile phones and go to their farms in modern pick-up trucks. They still bake their bread, however, on woods according to the ancient way and throw coins in the coffins of the dead, in order for them to be able to pay the ferryman who will take them to the other world.

The answer to the question of the contemporary traveller, how those people survive together with their animals in the age of industrial stockbreeding, is simple.

They base their survival on memory. Here come the inhabitants of the near villages, those who insist stubbornly to cultivate wheat in 4 hectare fields, in order to buy pigs, sausages and pork meat for their Christmas table. From here the families of the plain buy small pigs which they will breed at their houses for Christmas. Ancient people, keeping still alive the ancient tradition. The pig-fatlings in December, to honour the Goddess of Agriculture Demetra, survived through the Christian age together with the Christmas customs of the Greeks. The stockbreeders of free ranging pigs survived as well. It is not by chance that such stockbreeding farms still survive at the ancient places: in Pialia, at the ancient kingdom of hogbreeders; at the foot of Olympus, the mountain of the Gods; in Arcadia, at the mythical kingdom of Lycaon; in Thrace, at the ancient kingdom of Diomedes; at Vermion, the cradle of the ancient Macedonians. That is, where memory still transforms the places into ways.

Perhaps such places show us the solution to the tragic dead-ends of the contemporary industrial stockbreeding, with the inhuman breeding conditions, the antibiotics and the products of dubious quality. Perhaps the solution for our modern problematic societies also lies here, through the activation of people's memory.

In the 13th century B.C., when Ulysses returned to Ithaca after his 10 years of wandering, he couldn't go to his palace. The King's palace was invaded by suitors who wanted to kill him in order to marry his wife and change things in his kingdom. Homer, the blind poet, says that the King found shelter at the house of Evmeos, his loyal pig shepherd, where he prepared his strategy.

Is this just a coincidence or does the blind poet give a lesson, 33 centuries after his era? Perhaps, after all, the voyages and adventures Ulysses suffered because he defied the Gods is a symbol of contemporary corporate man who, confused, breaks natural laws.

Is returning a solution? Nobody knows. The fact is that in Greece, at the place which once was a way, the descendants of Evmeos, the loyal pig shepherd, still survives.


Photo: A wild boar with four domestic free-range pigs on a mountain-top pasture. (Vangelis Stoyannis)

An Elephantine Question: How Many Elephant Species are There?

Arguably the biggest conservation debate concerning elephants in the last decade has been over the international ban on trade in elephant ivory. But a new debate may be arising over how many African elephant species actually exist.

It is possible for the elephants of Amboseli and the Maasai people to coexist peacefully as they have for centuries. But will elephants live free from the ivory-seeking poachers' bullets? (MERC)


It has long been assumed that there are two elephant species: the Asian elephant (Elephas Maximus) and the African elephant (Loxodonta Africana). However, in a Report in Science magazine (Vol. 293, 24 August 2001) researchers studying DNA sequences from nearly 200 African elephants found genetic distinctions that they argue warrant separation of African elephants into two distinct species: those inhabiting the savannah (Loxodonta africana) and the smaller elephants in Africa's tropical forests (Loxodonta cyclotis). According to the Report, the two African elephant species began to diverge genetically over two and a half million years ago.

Asian elephants and most African countries' elephants (except Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) are already listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), thus prohibiting international commercial trade in their parts and products. Recognizing two distinct African elephant species may have interesting conservation implications and political repercussions under CITES. Taken together, the African elephant population may appear relatively strong. But separated into two distinct genetic populations, there would only be an estimated 400,000 savannah elephants and roughly 150,000 forest elephants.

There is the possibility that some will argue that the forest elephant, taken as its own species, is not yet protected at all. Elephant poachers and ivory traders engage in myriad machinations to engage in their deadly trade. Recent evidence suggests that the relaxation of the worldwide ban on ivory in 1997 was misperceived as sending a message that the ivory trade is soon to be reopened unfettered. In the past few months, ivory seizures have been made across the globe. Reports reveal in September 2001, 20 tusks were impounded in Zurich, Switzerland; in November 2001, 30 tusks were seized at Bangkok's airport; that same month, 230 tusks were confiscated in Egypt; the biggest recent bust came in Tanzania where 1,255 tusks were found in two homes. Ivory traders continue to take advantage of understaffed and underfunded anti-poaching and wildlife law enforcement units.

All elephant species undoubtedly warrant and need complete protection under international conservation Treaties and domestic legislation around the world. Recognizing the forest elephant as a separate, fully protected species may also call greater global attention to the deforestation rampaging Africa by greedy logging companies. Perhaps heightened conservation measures will be taken to protect the forests in which the endangered forest elephant clings to existence.

The great elephant debate just got a little more intriguing; we hope the mighty elephants will get additional protection as a result.

AWI Launches Laboratory Animal Forum

The Animal Welfare Institute initiated a closed, electronic forum on Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment in October 2002. The purpose of this discussion group is the factual exchange of experiences about ways to improve the conditions under which laboratory animals are housed and handled. The group is intended to serve the international animal care community in its attempt to promote animal welfare and improve scientific methodology by avoiding or eliminating husbandry-related stress situations. The forum is open to animal care personnel, animal technicians, students, attending veterinarians, and researchers who have first-hand experience in the care of animals kept in laboratories.

Presently the forum has over 100 members from 15 different countries. If you want to join please send your name, professional affiliation, experience(s) and interest(s) to viktorawi@siskiyou.net.

The following is part of a discussion by participants in the forum in response to the question: Should animal care personnel be encouraged to establish affectionate, rather than neutral, relationships with the animals in their charge? Erik Moreau, McGill University, Canada; Kathy Clark, Holliston, Massachusetts; Deborah Hartley, University of Oklahoma; Ann Lablans, Queen's University, Canada; Augusto Vitale, Instituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy; Pascalle Van Loo, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Terri Hunnicutt, St. Louis Zoo, Missouri; Anna Olsson, Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, Portugal; Chris Sherwin, University of Bristol, England; Viktor Reinhardt, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, DC; all posted opinions, which were edited by Viktor Reinhardt, moderator of LAREF, for publication in the Laboratory Primate Newsletter (2003, 42[1], 14-15). The text below has been shortened because of space limitations.

Most correspondents agreed that development of an affectionate relationship with the animals in their charge is almost unavoidable (Clark, Hartley, Hunnicutt, Lablans, Moreau, Van Loo, Vitale). Empathy can even arise in researchers who go to great lengths to try to ensure that their data are objective (Sherwin). "Having a close relationship with your animals is necessary to regard them as living beings, rather than biological test tubes. As such, you are more careful and patient, and will think more about what the procedures mean to the animals. You will become more creative in finding animal-friendly alternatives for the procedures you need to do on the animals. You will thus increase the well-being of your animals and, by doing so, make them better research subjects and increase the validity of test results" (Van Loo).

There was a consensus that emotional attachment provides an assurance that the animals receive optimal care, both physically and behaviorally (Clark, Hartley, Van Loo, Vitale). "If I didn't think about the animals in my care, I wouldn't notice that someone seems a little off today, he's not participating in social activities like he normally does. I wouldn't notice that one animal suddenly flinches when I feed her something with a spoon, indicating a possible tooth problem. I've seen 'caregivers' that treat the animals with complete indifference miss a million details that they should have noticed. They don't clean well, are callous to the animals, and forget important things. I have watched animals cringe or cower when these individuals enter the room. I have seen these individuals breaking for lunch rather than take a few extra minutes for enrichment. Their emotions may not be absent from the situation, but they're focused somewhere else and so they don't do a good job since they aren't emotionally vested in the outcome" (Hunnicutt). A relationship based on trust rather than fear is particularly important when potentially dangerous animals such as macaques are being trained to actively cooperate during handling procedures (Lablans, Moreau). "Whether such a relationship enhances training success is another question, but it certainly is an effective safeguard against injuries resulting from defensive aggression" (Reinhardt).

All Laboratory Animals Deserve Protection

The federal Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966 set minimum requirements for handling, housing, and care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs in the premises of dealers and in laboratories. In 1970 the Act, renamed the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), was amended to extend protection to all species of warm-blooded animals. However, the regulations promulgated for enforcement of the law arbitrarily excluded birds, mice and rats from the definition of animals, thus denying these species the protection to which they are entitled. There are no concrete figures, but it is generally agreed that approximately 95% of all animals used for research and testing are birds, mice and rats. The vast majority of laboratory animals have been left outside the law!

Birds, mice and rats used for experimentation do not benefit from the routine, unannounced inspections conducted by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinary inspectors. When USDA veterinarians inspect research facilities they specifically overlook the care of birds, mice and rats. Nonetheless, from time to time, inspectors have noted horrors during their inspections including the following:

"During the inspection of the unmarked paper bags in the freezer, I discovered a moribund Long-Evans rat that was barely breathing. The frigid condition of this animal and the fact that it was surrounded by chewed plastic bags containing other dead rats, indicated that it had been in the freezer for some time, possibly a day or more. The rat slowly recovered as it warmed.

"Had this incident occurred involving a species covered by the Animal Welfare Act, the University would be liable for serious violations of sections pertaining to the IACUC [Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee], euthanasia, provision of appropriate veterinary care, and training of personnel. The fact that the animal confined in the freezer was a rat and therefore not a covered species in no way diminishes the seriousness of this egregious lack of humane care for this animal. To me, this disturbing event raises grave concerns regarding the function of the IACUC and the delivery of veterinary care."

In response to a lawsuit brought by the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation et al., USDA settled the case last fall by agreeing to initiate the process for extending the AWA's coverage to these other animals. Shortly thereafter, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), a long-standing opponent of the AWA that represents research facilities and animal dealers, interceded.

Dr. Henry Foster, founder and chair of Charles River Laboratories, Foster's attorney son, and Frankie Trull created NABR in Trull's living room more than 20 years ago. Foster made clear the commercial value of promoting use of the maximum number of laboratory animals: "If you read the papers, everything seems to have carcinogenic effects. But that means more animal testing, which means growth for Charles River…so you can see why we continue to be enthused and excited" (The Wall Street Transcript, May 21, 1979). Charles River has continued to expand since that time, recently opening a Gnotobiotics operation producing about 2,000 female mice per week and a new facility the company describes as "dedicated to the contract breeding and management of genetically engineered (transgenic, knockout and mutant) mice and rats." If the Act encompasses birds, mice and rats, in addition to providing humane care and treatment, researchers will have to consider alternatives to the use of these animals—this objective conflicts with animal dealers' interest in maximizing the sale and use of animals in experimentation.

Regrettably, NABR convinced US Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) to attach a mandate to USDA's annual appropriation from Congress preventing the agency from conducting any activity related to birds, mice and rats during this fiscal year!

Much of the biomedical industry appears to be rallying behind NABR and, unfortunately, we anticipate a sustained effort by NABR and their cohorts to deny basic protections to the millions of birds, mice and rats subject to experimentation in the United States each year.

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