AWI Quarterly

BioMusic: The Music of Nature and the Nature of Music

Scientists discuss the Songs of Birds and Whales and Insects

Dr. Patricia Gray, Artistic Director of National Musical Arts, led the 14-year-long planning of the program, which took place February 19-21, 2000. It began with a public symposium at The National Zoo, which filled the Whittell Auditorium, followed by a second symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and then a concert at the National Academy of Sciences. The final event was a workshop for all the presenters and education experts in the fields of science and music for the purpose of developing education materials, specifically a CD-ROM and an interactive website, aimed initially at middle-school children.

National Musical Arts (NMA), the resident ensemble of the National Academy of Sciences, created and nurtured The BioMusic Program which was spawned from NMA's involvement in a Biodiversity conference co-hosted by The National Academy of Sciences and The Smithsonian Institution in 1986. From that momentous inception, The BioMusic Program grew to become a unique conduit between the sciences and arts, as it seeks to examine music in all species—human and non-human—and to explore and understand its powerful role in all living things.

The BioMusic Symposium presenters included: Dr. Roger Payne, President, Ocean Alliance and member of AWI's Scientific Committee; Dr. Bernie Krause, Wild Sanctuary, Inc.; Dr. Mark Jude Tramo, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and Director, Institute for Music and Brain Science; Dr. Jelle Atema, Director, Boston University - Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA; Dr. Luis Baptista, Chair and Curator, Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy, California Academy of Sciences; and Dr. Carol Krumhansl, Professor of Psychology, Cornell University.

Roger Payne's presentation was titled "Whale Songs and Musicality," and stated in part that "The composing of music is a communal bond and a defining element for whales. Each season, the Humpback whales' songs are structured in phrases of balanced lengths which are presented in a specific order, are memorized by all of the group in the area, repeated exactly by all, and are retained after six months of the beginning point for the new season's compositions."

Bernard Krause, an award winning musician, has lived an adventurous life travelling throughout remote regions of the world to record specific sound environments. Using sophisticated audio technology, he theorizes that regions of the world are uniquely "tuned" by the musical sounds of its inhabitants and are readily identified by these musical sounds. He has named this phenomenon a "Biophony," a word created from "symphony" and "biology."

The concert performed by National Musical Arts (NMA) at The National Academy of Sciences featured works based on The BioMusic Symposium presentations. NMA performed Mozart's "Musical Joke" because recent research by Dr. Luis Baptista and Dr. Meredith West (Indiana University) and presented at the AAAS symposium demonstrated that Mozart's musical relationship with his pet starling was so powerful that this famous chamber music work was actually composed as a requiem to the bird and features exact musical quotations from the pet starling. George Crumb's "Vox Balaenae" for electrified flute, electrified cello, and electrified piano concluded the concert. Crumb was so moved after hearing the recording, "The Songs of the Humpback Whale," that he worked with Roger Payne to create this chamber music classic. Recorded by hydrophones in the ocean depths, this famous recording captured the whales' own vocalizations and songs and became a best seller for months. This recording was also distributed by the National Geographic to all subscribers.

The Rhetorical Perspective for all of the BioMusic events addresses: "What is music? How are musical sounds used to communicate within and between species? Is music-making a biological function? Do musical sounds within the natural world reveal a profound bond between all living things?" It is these and related interfaces between art and science, humans and other species that The BioMusic Program cultivates.

The interest in the symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was overwhelming as demonstrated by the standing room only crowds which spilled into the adjoining halls.

The media's response was equally enthusiastic and wide ranging. Television and radio coverage included the CBC, Chilean Public Television, Dutch National Radio and Television, NPR, and the BBC. Internet coverage included, among many others, ABCOnline, Discovery, and Feature articles appeared in newspapers in Russia, Germany, and Poland. Science News made BioMusic its cover story for its April 15th edition and two "Perspective" articles will appear soon in Science Magazine. On May 6th, The New York Times published a most interesting follow-up interview titled "Conversation with Luis F. Baptista" by Claudia Dreifus. Baptista, one of the world's leading experts on bird song, dialect, and language, was asked "What are the parallels between human and bird music?" Baptista replied: "I know of birds who have voices with tonal qualities that sound like real instruments. The strawberry finch has beautiful single notes that come down the scale and sound just like a flute. There is another bird, the diamond firetail from Australia, whose voice sounds like some kind of woodwind, an oboe perhaps. Then, in Costa Rica, I've encountered a wonderful night bird, and it sings four notes coming down the scale, and the quality of its voice is just like bassoon.

"Then, if you look at pitch, scholars have found that certain birds use the same musical scales as human cultures. One scholar has found that the hermit thrush actually sings in the pentatonic scale used in Far Eastern music. One of the most incredible cases is the canyon wren, who sings in the chromatic scale, and his song reminds me of the introduction and finale of Chopin's Revolutionary Etude."

The Smile of a Dolphin

The Smile of a Dolphin
Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions
Edited by Marc Bekoff
Discovery Books, New York, October 2000
224 pages; 120 illustrations; $35 ISBN 1-563-31925-X

Highly recommended


Marc Bekoff, a professor of Organismic biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is a prolific author and editor. In Smile of a Dolphin, he has struck a groundbreaking collaboration with Discovery Books, which has provided his book with the most magnificent illustrations of an enormous variety of animal emotions-actually 120 in number. He has categorized these under the headings of Love, followed by Fear, Aggression and Anger, then Joy and Grief and, finally, Fellow Feelings-a strikingly similar series of categories to that of Charles Darwin's 1871 bestseller, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

In 1967, the Animal Welfare Institute issued a 54-page publication entitled Animal Expressions: A Photographic Footnote to Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Photographs were arranged under six categories: Affection; Joy; Contentment; Pain, Anger, Anxiety and Depression; Astonishment; and Terror.

Now Discovery Books has developed animal photography so splendid that a wholly new light has been shed on Darwin's powerful insight into the continuum of emotions felt and expressed by the human and great numbers of other species. But Darwin gets a bad review in Stephen Jay Gould's Foreword, which stresses the "Darwinian observers" and "Darwinian motor" and-worst of all-"Darwin's or anyone else's restricted human philosophy." Despite this hostile sendoff, Bekoff's Introduction gives Darwin's thinking full credence as do his section introductions, and the body of the book contains fascinating contributions.

David Macdonald, the Oxford University expert on foxes, describes the gentle teachings of an old vixen to a single cub who learns how to capture earthworms, a staple of fox diet. Macdonald says, "Infrared binoculars revolutionized my study of Red Foxes." He called these glasses "the hot eye."

"On a moonless night, I stalked across a favored worming pasture with the hot eye. After many minutes of silent footsteps, I reached a ridge, raised the binoculars and peered over. There I saw Toothypeg standing not thirty meters from me, accompanied by her leggy cub. Toothypeg, so called because only one worn canine tooth remained in her antique muzzle, was my oldest radio-collared fox, then approaching her ninth birthday...Several days later, I saw Toothypeg and her cub again. Experience still weighed in the old vixen's favor; she caught four worms each minute to her cub's one. But by the time our paths crossed again a month later, he'd graduated with distinction and was catching as proficiently as his mother. It's an observation I've never repeated, but it was sufficient to convince me that worm-catching for foxes is culture passed on from mother to cub."

Deborah and Roger Fouts of the Great Ape project and the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, Central Washington University, wrote a powerful summary based on their 30 years' study of chimpanzees. "...we've come to believe that we share all our emotions with them. Such differences that exist are merely of degree."

The description of the five chimpanzees', Washoe, Moja, Tatu, Loulis and Dar, joy when their ideal new quarters were finally built is inspiring: "As Washoe stared out of the window onto her sunlit garden, she began to scream with delight usually saved for Christmas morning. She hugged Loulis and ran toward the glass doors and signed OUT, OUT. Our plan had been to give the chimpanzees two weeks to acclimate to their new home, but they spent those first days begging to go OUT. So on the third day, after breakfast, we told them, TODAY YOU GO OUT. Washoe leaped up and parked herself by the hydraulic door that leads to the outside upper deck. She waited there for more than an hour, with Loulis right behind her. He seemed a little nervous and needed his mother's reassurance.

"Finally, the door slid up, Loulis swaggered, then seemed to think better of it and sat back down. Washoe waited for him patiently, but Dar squeezed by and exploded out the door and down the stairs to the ground. He raced across the grass field with an ecstatic movement that looked like quadrupedal skipping. He headed directly for the far terrace, climbed to the top of the thirty-two-foot-high fence, and gazed out over Ellensburg. Then he turned toward us and let out a loud pant-hoot of happiness. Washoe was the next one out. She stood upright and surveyed the terraces, the garden, and the familiar human faces at the observation window below. Stretching out her leg, she touched her toes to the first step and then pulled them back. Then she noticed Debbi was standing near the fence. Washoe walked over with a spring in her step, reached through the fence, and kissed Debbi through the wire. This was clearly her way of saying thank you, and Debbi was moved to tears by Washoe's thoughtful gratitude."

The Environment Comes Second


At the recent meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Alexey Yablokov, the distinguished Russian Scientist who is a member of AWI's International Committee, and was an advisor to former President Boris Yeltsin, presented a letter, with several other scientists, to President of Russia, Vladimir Putin protesting his termination of the State Committee on the Environment.

According to the report in The New York Times (May 24, 2000), there is a deep seated belief in the Kremlin that the wide-spread pollution is not important and that economic recovery must come first, and afterwards, the environment can be given attention.

Yablokov has testified before the U.S. Congress on the radiation, as well as air and water pollution, that desperately needs to be addressed in Russia. President Putin said he will think about it.

Does BC Stand for "Bear Conservation?"

The Government of British Columbia, Canada (BC), which recently instituted a moratorium on grizzly bear hunting, has now approved vital provisions of a framework agreement to protect critical valleys in the Great Bear Rainforest. Additional bilateral accords have been reached between nongovernmental environmental organizations and multinational timber corporations. According to Catherine Stewart, Greenpeace Canada's Forest Campaigner, "Consumers around the world have demanded an end to the destruction of these spectacular forests and their voices have been heard. This agreement is a significant first step towards ensuring a future for these ancient forests and all the species that call them home."

While over half of the world's temperate rainforest has been wiped out, British Columbia contains a quarter of all that remains. Logging corporations subject these remnants to constant assault, massively clear cutting the trees for profit.

The overall consensus recommendations for protecting parts of the Great Bear Rainforest were developed with input from numerous stakeholders in the region: environmentalists, workers, community representatives, small business owners and large logging companies. Importantly, the plan also was crafted with valuable input from the indigenous First Nations people, who should be considered the legitimate governors of this, their traditional territory (they reportedly have been in the region at least 12,000 years). Initially, logging bans and moratoria will be established in an area of the Great Bear Rainforest including the region known as the Central Coast, as part of a Land and Resources Management Planning Process. The first phase creates twenty permanently protected rainforest valleys where industrial development is prohibited. Another sixty-nine valleys are designated "Option Areas," where logging is deferred for two years while further management plans are considered.

The relevant rainforests on the west coast of British Columbia are home to millennium-old spruce trees and winding salmon streams, grizzly and black bears (including the remarkable Spirit Bear-an American black bear that has white fur), mountain goats and blacktail deer, owls, eagles, cormorants, ducks and marbled murrelets. Sea lions, seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises are also present in the coastal waters of the area.

In announcing the recent conservation agreement, BC Premier Ujjal Dosanjh asserted that, "The area referred to as the Great Bear Rainforest is an icon of the unique environmental and cultural values BC can share with the world." While the resource plan does not bring an end to over-exploitative logging in British Columbia, it does lay the groundwork for the long-term conservation of much of this magnificent natural gift to the world.

Caption:  The reclusive Spirit Bear inhabits rainforest valleys in British Columbia, Canada, which are under assault by loggers. Continued attention to their plight is vital for their survival. (Ian McAllister)

World Bank vs. Tigers in India

Green mining threatens precious habitat

By Bittu Sahgal, editor of Sanctuary Asia, India's largest circulation wildlife magazine and Daphne Wysham, research fellow of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.

While the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) met in Washington behind closed doors and police barricaded this week, citizen protesters pressed environmental social justice priorities from without. World Bank and IMF officials assured the public they have these issues at heart in their internal decision-making. But skeptics counter that their lack of transparency is symptomatic of a deeper top-down elitism that promotes unsustainable development for the well to do at the cost of environmental destruction and social upheaval for the poorest.

Who is right? Who is in a position to judge? Do ordinary citizens even have a legitimate role in policing international financial institutions? U.S. taxpayers, who contribute the largest portion of World Bank funds, deserve concrete information for themselves. So here is one illustrative case study: a World Bank coal mining expansion scheme in India.

U.S. companies see a hot prospective market in India, where $250 billion will be spent on power-generating equipment in coming years. Coal is India's cheapens and most abundant power source, and until recently India's coal sector was the top recipient of World Bank development dollars.

The World Bank justifies expended coal mining in India as not only good for the economy but also for then environment. Some planned mines it is backing are even touted as "environmental showcases." But these would-be "green" mines are sited in ultrasensitive habitats India's tigers and other endangered wildlife can't live without.

In the Indian stats of Bihar, Grissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, some 400 new open-cast coal mines are planned. The World Bank in collaboration with Coal India, and with the tactic acceptance of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), is financing 25 such mines in ecologically sensitive areas as models of what it calls "good environmental practice." But the label is Orwellian; environmental devastation in the vicinity of open cast coal mines is total.

These regions of India contain many of the last remaining wild tigers on Earth, as well as other endangered species including the Asiatic elephant. Its forests contain areas identified by the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society as Level One Tiger Conservation Unit warranting the highest level of environmental protection. The forests are unique because they are still connected by fragile but working corridors that allow large mammals the range they need. The planned mines will cut off the corridors, reducing the forests to islands surrounded by human activity. Stranded tiger populations inside these "forest islands" become inbred and die out.

After initially calling the mine sites "degraded" forest unimportant to wildlife, the World Bank was joined by MOEF in eventually admitting the vital function of the corridors and that the matter "merited serious consideration." It promised local groups that it would send experts to assess the situation, but never followed through. The Environmental Impact Assessments prepared by the World Bank and the MOEF gloss over the impact of the mines on the corridors and the wildlife they host.

Nor do they official assessments include an analysis of the atmospheric impact of mining and burning more coal, impacts whose brunt is inevitably borne by developing countries as climate change accelerates. Coal is the dirtiest and more carbon-intensive of fossil fuels, releasing more greenhouse gases into the earth's atmosphere than any other source. The World Bank admits the poorest will suffer the most in a warming world.

The mines' impacts on local residents have also gone unheeded. The project sites are home to tribal communities and Neolithic art now marked for eradication. To make way for the mines, entire villages have been forcibly evicted and resettled under conditions that ensure their pauperization. Those who do benefit from the mines will do so temporarily. When the coal and the money run out, vast areas of the region will be laid waste, devoid of the indigenous communities and wildlife, and all too soon, the short-lived mining economy. Coal expansion also effectively preempts development of affordable, clean, renewable forms of energy which are desperately needed and would be of sustainable economic benefit to the region.

During his March trip to India, President Clinton visited Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve where he discussed the threats to the tiger's survival and spotted two tigers in the wild. In subsequent speeches he called on business leaders to help preserve the tiger populations as part of India's heritage. But it is U.S. eagerness for Indian economic development which encourages such perverse effects as extinguishing India's tigers and pre-empting sustainable energy development.

Whether Mr. Clinton's enthusiasm for the tiger or development bankers' professed environmentalism are sincere or not is known only to themselves. But the actual track records of the institutions involved suggest a global pattern of perverse effects, like the ones that loom in India.

Nothing about globalization is simple, but it doesn't take a policy sophisticate like Mr. Clinton or World Bank President James Wolfensohn to know that devastating forests, extinguishing wildlife and dislocating and denying sustainable livelihoods to local populations are bad things. More than one million Indian children who signed an immense "Save the Tiger" scroll know it, and have a perfect right to demand the World Bank adopt an environmentally and socially responsible energy investment strategy in India. If they can do it, U.S. taxpayers can do it, too, and hopefully, make world leaders and development bankers listen.

© 2000 News World Communications, Inc.

Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times

Photo, World Bank-sponsored mining projects in India could destroy thousands of acres of essential wildlife habitat and wipe out endangered species such as tigers, a symbol of India's robust ecological heritage.  This tiger was photographed in Kanha National park in Madhya Pradesh in Central India. (Vivek R. Sinha/Sanctuary Photo Library)

Laboratory Animals

Inadequately anesthetized mice were sliced open and had their organs cut out by a research assistant at a California-based laboratory, according to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report. The approved research protocol, which was ignored, stated that the mice would be dead when their organs were "harvested." Three of the institution's veterinarians and a veterinary technician attempted, but failed to stop the employee from continuing with the torturous procedure. The assistant had been cited twice before for causing pain and distress in mice and rats so she should not have been experimenting on animals at all.

This egregious situation occurred at Amgen, Inc., which according to its website, "is the world's largest independent biotechnology company." USDA has cited Amgen with failing to comply with the modest legal requirements for veterinary care, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) responsibilities, personnel and training. Despite these serious problems, Amgen is accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), International.

Mice are not currently being protected under the Animal Welfare Act. Though the law mandates protection for all warm-blooded animals, the regulations for enforcement of the law specifically exclude mice, rats and birds. We know about this incident only because an alert USDA veterinary inspector realized that Amgen's failure to protect rodents suggested the facility would not adequately protect the other warm-blooded animals being experimented on at the facility and noted it on her inspection report.

Research industry groups are rallying scientific organizations in an effort to prevent the legal protection of mice, rats and birds used for experimentation. They argue that there is no need for protection of these vulnerable animals. This is nonsense.

" seemed obvious that the veterinarian, and perhaps other IACUC members, feared reprisal for discussing the details of the incident with us....Employees who fear reprisal will not report deficiencies they discover, and such deficiencies will then go uncorrected."

-USDA Veterinary Inspector, Jan. 13, 2000

Caged Laboratory Animals Drown by the Tens of Thousands

Flooding in Houston, Texas on June 9 and 10 caused the death by drowning of more than 35,000 animals used for experimentation at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School. The animals, which included dogs, primates, rabbits, mice and rats, were trapped in their cages. The National Institutes of Health has said it will work to "accommodate the setbacks" in the federally funded research (a bonanza for animal dealers), but has not announced any practical plans to prevent a repetition of this tragedy. One can only imagine the terror of the animals confined in cages in basement laboratories throughout the vast medical complexes as they listened to the frenzied struggle of their fellows drowning in the lower tiers of cages as the water inexorably rose.

Two AWI Missions to Central Europe

By Tom Garrett

On March 10, Agnes Van Volkenburgh and I traveled to the ancient Czech city of Prague with Samoobrona Chairman Andrzej Lepper for a meeting of farm unions and agrarian parties from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Cyprus and Estonia. The meeting, catalyzed by a European Union ultimatum that countries seeking E.U. membership "modernize" their "agriculture sectors" by eliminating peasant farmers, began at Prague University on the 11th. By the end of the day the participants had agreed to strengthen farmers' defenses by forming a European Democratic Rural Union (EDRU) of agrarian parties.

On the following morning, a committee convened to draft the guiding principles of the proposed alliance. Lepper, preoccupied with events in Poland, assigned Agnes (who is his animal welfare consultant) to negotiate for Samoobrona. I was seated as her "adviser" and we brought the session to an impasse by proposing language on environmental protection, animal welfare and clean food. The Czechs objected with particular vehemence. But when Lepper, with his indefinable sense of force, came to the table to ask what the problem was, opposition disintegrated. The final language of the memorandum has the EDRU striving for "preservation of natural environment in the broadest possible sense, increasing production of natural food supply and promoting humane farming methods."

Whether this rather startling victory will survive the formal inauguration of the new union (probably in October) remains to be seen. Farm animal welfare has never before appeared in a central European political platform.

On March 15, Agnes and I joined Lepper in Warsaw for two more defining events. One, which put to the test our effort to form a peasant-ecologist alliance, was a Samoobrona-led demonstration at the U.S. and German embassies protesting foreign takeover of Polish assets. Fortunately, by the time we reached the main gate of the U.S. Embassy, "locked down" and guarded by scores of Interior Ministry troops wearing black ski masks and carrying sub-machineguns, parties of ecologists had arrived and hoisted their banners. Later, at a boisterous AWI sponsored luncheon of farmers and ecologists, Lepper sat with Green Federation head Olaf Swolkien and other ecologists to hammer out a working alliance. The cover of the latest Green Brigades journal pictures Swolkien and Lepper standing beneath a Green Federation banner.

We also met with Adam Tanski, head of the State Farm Property Agency (AWRS), the agency established to privatize the 20% of Polish farmland that was incorporated into state farms. Tanski came quickly to the point. "I have seen in your video how you raise hogs in Iowa," Tanski said. "I would like to begin this kind of husbandry on state farms. If you can provide the technical expertise we need to convert to your system, and help us to establish markets, I can supply the land, the buildings and the people. We have 40,000 unemployed former state farm workers who need something to do." We assured Tanski that we would bring a team of experts to Poland as soon as possible.

On May 15, Agnes flew to Warsaw to complete arrangements for a small AWI sponsored peasant-ecologist conference. She was joined on the 18th by AWI's Farm Animal Advisor Diane Halverson, Iowa farmer and Niman Ranch coordinator Paul Willis, Minnesota farmer Dwight Ault, AWI's Greek International committee member Dr. Theo Antikas, and Ionos Tsironis, the head of the Greek Hog Farmers Union.

The conference, on May 19th and 20th, attracted not only farmers and ecologists, but a substantial cadre of Polish veterinarians. After hearing a powerful presentation by American Riverkeepers' Kevin Madonna on the hog factory disaster in North Carolina, Dr. Bartosz Winiecki, President of the Polish Veterinary Chamber, denounced industrial hog raising and pledged to mobilize Polish veterinarians against a Smithfield takeover. Winiecki praised the AWI/Niman Ranch system and said that he wants to bring a delegation of Polish vets to the U.S. to see it first hand.

Unfortunately, the AWI team's arrival in Poland coincided with an acute crisis within Poland's unstable governing coalition. While we were able to tour state farms in northeastern and central Poland, the planned "nuts and bolts" session with Tanski did not eventuate. Tanski, like other government politicians, was caught up in the scramble trying to keep the foundering coalition afloat. It was not until after the rest of us had returned home that Agnes, who remained in Poland an additional week, was able to meet Mr. Perycz, Tanski's deputy, and learn what the AWRS now has in mind.

"If AWI will prepare and translate a brochure with text and pictures explaining what must be done to qualify for the program and why it is profitable to raise pigs in that way" Perycz told Agnes, "AWRS will bear the costs of printing it. We will distribute it to existing state farms and to everyone who is raising pigs on land being leased from us. Then we will collect the names of farmers who are interested in converting and transmit them to you. If you can then investigate on a case by case basis and prepare a blueprint for converting each farm, we will bear the costs of conversion." Perycz made it clear, however, that his agency would only approve conversions if humanely raised pork could be effectively marketed.

In a last minute blitz, Agnes traveled to Poznan with Andrzej Lepper, spoke at a press conference and visited a private farmer —already raising pigs humanely on deep straw—who is anxious to convert to the AWI system. The Samoobrona office in Poznan has received numerous inquiries from farmers who have seen the AWI video and want to adopt the AWI system. On her final day in Warsaw, Agnes attended a meeting of the Polish Ecological Farming Association, which is involved in marketing Polish organic produce. Its President, Professor Gorny, immediately volunteered to help set up channels for distributing humanely raised pork. It devolved that Gorny was already in conflict with Animex, but that he did not realize that it had been taken over by Smithfield and was being used as the bridgehead for a full-scale invasion.

The next step for AWI is to complete the brochure requested by AWRS. Agnes has already arranged for it to be distributed by Samobroona and by the Polish Federation of Agricultural Employees as well as AWRS and to be reprinted in Trzoda Chlewna, the Polish pig raisers journal. In the meantime, Mr. Tsironis has decided to set up a demonstration project conforming to AWI standards on his property in Greece and has suggested that the brochure be translated into Greek for distribution by his union. As an example of the serendipity inherent in international gatherings, Tsironis has resolved to set up a peasants self defense network, modeled on Samoobroona, in Greece, Cyprus and Macedonia.

Saving Sharks from the Jaws of Greed

The legendary image of sharks portrayed in movies such as Jaws perpetuates remarkable fear among humans. In fact, many species of sharks have experienced dramatic population declines as a result of cruel killing and poorly managed fisheries across the globe. A new report from WildAid, The End of the Line?, describes in great detail the threats facing sharks worldwide.

While sharks have swum through the oceans of the world for as long as 400 million years, according to WildAid's Executive Director, Peter Knights, "Sharks are likely to be in the first round of marine extinctions caused by human activity." The End of the Line? reveals some of the myriad reasons for which sharks are killed: to consume their meat, to use their body parts in medicines and teeth for jewelry, and, increasingly, to slice off their fins for shark fin soup. As described in the Report: "The shark is hauled up on deck, the fins sliced off, and the shark-often still alive- thrown back into the sea. This conserves space in the hold for high-value food species such as tuna and swordfish."

The Report highlights threats to various specific shark species such as the great white shark, fished for sport and killed for its jaws, and the world's largest fish, the whale shark, targeted for fins "sometimes fetching thousands of dollars a set-for use in soup and as displays to advertise shark fin soup."

The authors lead us through the countries most heavily involved in the trade: from Hong Kong, "the center of the global shark fin trade" to China, "the major importer" and "the world's largest consumer of shark fin."

In the US Congress last year, the Shark Finning Prohibition Act was enacted. In February, the United States Department of Commerce issued its "National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks."  Hopefully, The End of the Line? will spur all nations involved in killing and consuming sharks to implement similar regulations to ensure their survival.

For more information, contact: WildAid, 450 Pacific Ave., Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94133, or log on to

Caption: Sharks are caught as bycatch in most of the world's fisheries. (R. and V. Taylor/Interspace Visions)

Another Dealer is Exposed for Illegally Acquiring Dogs for

 As many as 1,000 former racing greyhounds may have been acquired fraudulently by a USDA-licensed Class B, random source, dealer and sold for experimental purposes. The owners of the dogs were led to believe the animals would be adopted to homes; instead the dealer, Daniel Shonka, sold them to laboratories for $300-400 each.

Allegedly most of the dogs were sold to Guidant Corporation, a cardiac research facility and manufacturer of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. The dogs were used for experimental purposes at the company's site in St. Paul, Minnesota. Research facilities that want to ensure they do not get stolen or fraudulently acquired dogs and cats should not use Class B random source dealers.

Most of the dogs Shonka sold for experimentation have been killed, but approximately 100 may still be alive at Guidant. The laboratory is reversing the experimental procedures it conducted on the dogs and is releasing them. Some of the dogs have had surgically implanted wires removed and after recovering from the surgery, the greyhounds will be adopted to good homes as initially anticipated by their owners.

Shonka, a long-time scout for the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles, runs a kennel for racing dogs at St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Track in Hudson, Wisconsin and operates his so-called adoption program from his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Since 1996 he has held a USDA license for his Cedar Rapids location to sell animals to laboratories, but the license does not entitle him to acquire animals by deceit. When the allegations against Shonka surfaced in April, he disconnected his home and business telephone.

No charges have been filed yet, but the USDA, Wisconsin Division of Gaming and the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating Shonka. Adoption of the Pet Safety and Protection Act, currently pending in Congress, would prevent this illicit supply of dogs and cats for experimentation.

Photo, Note the fresh surgical scars on Biscuit and Saucy, who were among the first greyhounds released by Guidant Research Laboratory.  Having survived the ordeal, they are now together in a loving home.

Trendy Talbots Tied to Tasteless Sales

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has recently released a report revealing the link between Talbots clothing stores and the sale of whale, porpoise and dolphin products across Japan by their parent company JUSCO, one of Japan's largest supermarket operators. Talbots Inc., a retailer of women's specialty clothing since 1947, owns and operates 733 stores in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. In June 1988, JUSCO USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese retail conglomerate JUSCO Co. Ltd. (JUSCO), purchased the Talbots franchise. JUSCO USA currently owns approximately 58.1% of the outstanding common stock in Talbots.

Since JUSCO acquired majority ownership of the Talbots chain in 1988, more than a quarter of a million whales, dolphins and porpoises have been killed by Japanese hunters in poorly regulated and unsustainable hunts. JUSCO's large distribution chain has enabled the Japanese whale and dolphin hunting industry to thrive in spite of repeated international censure.

EIA's recent investigations in Japan have established that JUSCO's supermarket chain is a large distributor of whale and dolphin meat and blubber, with products being sold in hundreds of stores throughout Japan. EIA surveyed 388 JUSCO owned supermarkets in Japan and found that almost half sold whale meat. Subsequent site visits across Japan revealed whale, dolphin or porpoise meat on sale in 22 out of 37 stores. JUSCO supermarkets sell whale meat from protected minke whales hunted in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and the Pacific Ocean; they also sell dolphin and porpoise meat from coastal populations that are threatened or in decline. DNA analysis of samples taken from JUSCO supermarkets revealed minke whale, bottlenose dolphin, Dall's porpoise, short-finned pilot whale and sei whale (a species that has been internationally protected since 1986).

Not only does JUSCO USA own Talbots, the two companies are also closely united in corporate governance. Four of the nine Directors on the Talbots Board hold key executive offices within JUSCO or JUSCO USA. Talbots is inextricably linked to JUSCO, and EIA is calling on the Board of Talbots to persuade its parent company (JUSCO) to ban the sale of all whale, dolphin and porpoise products in its stores permanently.

ACTION Tell Talbots they have a whale of a problem! Write to Talbots CEO Arnold Zetcher: One Talbots Drive, Hingham, MA 02043 or fax him at (781) 741-4369 and ask him to demand that JUSCO permanently ban the sale of cetacean products in its stores. Log on to for more information and to send an automatic webfax to the CEO of Talbots.
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