AWI Quarterly

Report Mistreatment of Experimental Animals www.labanimalissues.org

Report Mistreatment of Experimental Animals
www.labanimalissues.org

Labanimalissues.org was created by AWI to serve as a secure and confidential source for the reporting of any specific concerns about the well-being of animals used for experimentation, testing, and/or teaching. Labanimalissues.org is open to all persons wishing to notify us about any laboratory animal welfare problem, whether it involves one animal or many animals; whether the concern is for animals in one laboratory cage, animals used by one principal investigator or animals throughout an institution; and whether or not there has been a violation of any law or guideline.

The objective of Labanimalissues.org is to assist individuals in helping laboratory animals who are suffering unnecessarily or are simply in need of better treatment. Reports can be anonymous, and the website is guaranteed to ensure the highest level of privacy, confidentiality, and security. We will follow-up on each report by taking whatever action we can to improve the situation for the laboratory animals involved. This may include, but is not limited to, personally inspecting the animals, filing complaints with the appropriate oversight agency, and reporting to the media and/or Congress.

 

National Gathering Calls for Humane, Sustainable Hog Farming

On January 11, 800 people from across the US and Canada packed the New Bern, North Carolina Riverfront Convention Center to discuss strategies for combating pig factories and promoting humaneness and sustainability in pig farming.

The "Summit for Sustainable Hog Farming" was organized by Nicolette Hahn, Senior Attorney for the Water Keeper Alliance, Rick Dove, Board Member of the Water Keeper Alliance and Gary Grant, Chair of the North Carolina Hog Roundtable. The day-long event included presentations from fishermen, environmentalists, religious and labor leaders, family farmers, scientists, public officials, attorneys, community activists, and animal welfare advocates.

Poignantly, neighbors to industrial pig operations described from personal experience how pig factories fouled their houses and backyards with stench and toxic gases so intense they became ill. In chilling testimonials, they detailed incidents of intimidation, even threats of violence and death, which they received from pig factory owners or operators.

The Summit's animal welfare discussion featured presentations by Paul Willis and Sue and Kelly Ryan, family farmers who allow the pigs they raise to behave naturally, in accordance with the Animal Welfare Institute's Humane Husbandry Standards for Pigs. A video prepared by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) in cooperation with the Water Keeper Alliance showed the Ryan family farm and emphasized the value of preserving the culture of humane family farm husbandry that is being decimated by animal factories. Mike McConnell, Chairman of Niman Ranch, urged attendees not only to fight against the growth and pollution of pig factories but also to press their grocers to carry meat from humane, sustainable family farms rather than factories. Niman Ranch is the first marketing company to require that farmers whose hogs they purchase follow AWI's humane husbandry standards. Actress Rosemary Harris, winner of a Tony, an Emmy and a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nominee, spoke on behalf of animals in a video presentation recorded in Los Angeles where Ms. Harris was filming the movie "Spiderman." Ms. Harris called on consumers to insist on meat from humane, family farms, saying that it is the plight of the sows confined to crates, unable to walk or turn around, that moves her most. A North Carolinian herself, Ms. Harris urged North Carolinians to take the lead in prohibiting animal factory practices, just as Sweden has done in Europe. Marlene Halverson, humane farming consultant to AWI, described the long history of ethical approaches to farming with animals in Sweden and their potential for serving as models for humane, sustainable farming in the US. AWI's Farm Animal Advisor, Diane Halverson, showed how factory production of pigs violates the nature of pigs, and how this leads, inevitably, to environmental and human health catastrophes. The suffering of animals in factories was also addressed in Rick Dove's video presentation which included footage of gross cruelty to pigs in a North Carolina factory, where workers beat and dismembered conscious sows. In Mr. Dove's words, "If we solve all of the environmental problems dealing with industrial hog raising, including stopping pollution, gaining restitution for pollution and solving the neighborhood odor and health problems, but we don't solve the issue of humane treatment of animals, then we haven't solved the problem of hog factories."

A captivating keynote address was given by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who, in addressing the extreme confinement and physical abuse suffered by pigs in factories, said: "The way that we treat animals—somebody at sometime is going to be punished for that—we as a nation or somebody. Because you can't treat another work of the Creator with the kind of indignity that we are allowing to go on in this state or others without there being some kind of karmic retribution at some point in history. I think all of us understand that, and particularly the family farmers here who understand the notion of stewardship and how an animal should be treated with dignity if we want dignity for ourselves."

The Metropolitan AME Zion Church Choir, Washington, N.C. opened the Interfaith Prayer Service that followed Mr. Kennedy's address. Sister Evelyn Mattern of the North Carolina Council of Churches led the crowd in this prayer by St. Basil the Great (329-379): "O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers and sisters the animals, to whom you have given the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised our high dominion with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of pain. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life."

Water Keeper Alliance

The Water Keeper Alliance is the umbrella organization for the fifty-eight River, Sound and Bay Keepers located throughout North and Central America and Europe. The Water Keeper Alliance protects and restores waterways—including those ravaged by pollution from animal factories—using a variety of methods, including litigation. To learn more about the Water Keeper Alliance or to view presentations delivered at the Summit, visit the organization's website at

www.keeper.org.

North Carolina Hog Roundtable

The North Carolina Hog Roundtable is a coalition of state-wide, community, and neighborhood organizations, with over 65,000 members collectively, that are working toward reform of corporate pig raising. The Roundtable focuses on pig factories' threats to public health, the environment and property values and has a particular concern for the disproportionate impact of industrial pig operations on poor and minority communities.

    


Photos:  Pigs on industrial farms are confined to metal crates so small they cannot even turn around. Unnatural conditions in the factory thwart a pig's natural instincts, and stereoptypies, repetitive behaviors such as bar-biting shown at left, are common.

Lions on the Brink?

"Raffi" was rescued (and photographed) by the Born Free Foundation from a cage atop a bar in the Canary Islands. He now lives happily on 5 acres at the Shamwari Private Game reserve in South Africa.


If you want to be in the killing club then you've got to kill a lion. Safari Club International, an organization dedicated to promoting the killing of wild animals for sport, has the lion listed on a number of its hunting awards. The lion is one of the "Dangerous Game of Africa," the "African 29," the "Cats of the World," and the grand slam "Africa Big Five" (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo). Safari Club International's magazine is replete with stories about lion hunts in which hunters hang bait from tree limbs in what one author called "the perfect setup" for an easy ambush and kill. Another author rates the lion as the most dangerous of the Africa Big Five and "perhaps the most difficult of all Africa's great prizes." He contends, "Most parks in Africa hold good numbers of lions, so there need be no concern over the species' survival."

In reality, the future looks bleak for the African lion (Panthera Leo) of west and central Africa, based on the results of a workshop held in Cameroon in June 2001. The recently published proceedings from the meeting highlight the pressures placed on these fragmented lion populations and the need to protect them immediately. One participant at the meeting noted that the population estimates of between 1,500 and 2,000 lions "in the entire West African region was considered as a shock."

The "information exchange" on "Status and Needs for Conservation of Lions in West and Central Africa" reveals that in west and central Africa, lions in countries such as Senegal, Mali, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon are threatened by poachers, loss of habitat (especially for conversion of land to agriculture and forest cutting for timber), slaughter for the use of their parts in traditional medicines, and trophy hunting.

Roughly 30,000 lions remain in the wild.  Individual populations are small isolated, and decreasing.


The situation seems dire in some parts of southern Africa as well. Researchers Chris and Tilde Stewart in Zambia claim that in the northeastern part of the country, "numbers are critically low and they probably have no future here." Little population data apparently exists for the rest of the country. In Botswana, the Director of Wildlife placed an immediate ban on all hunting of lions in February 2001, as a precautionary measure to prevent further decline of lions there. The temporary ban was praised by conservationists but assailed by trophy hunters.

Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation has stressed the need to respond to the findings of the Cameroon workshop as a matter of urgency. "This latest lion news must serve as a wake up call to all conservationists. Unless we take concerted action to reduce poaching, prevent further habitat loss, stop trade in lion parts and eliminate trophy hunting this serious situation will soon become a crisis."

 

 

Nine Charged with Illegal Trade in Exotic Cats:
Tigers, Leopards, and Other Big Cats Appear to Have Been Killed for Trophies

Following a lengthy investigation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a series of indictments have been issued against individuals in Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri for trafficking in protected tigers and leopards. A couple of the individuals involved are licensed as exhibitors under the Animal Welfare Act. Apparently, those charged were buying and killing tigers, leopards, snow leopards, lions, mountain lions, cougars, mixed breed cats, and black bears with the intention of introducing their meat and skins into the lucrative animal parts trade.

At this point only one individual has been sentenced. Woody Thompson, Jr., owner of the Willow Lake Sportsman's Club in Three Rivers, Michigan, pled guilty to brokering the interstate sale of three tiger skins. He was sentenced to six months of home detention, two years probation, a $2,000 fine, and he was ordered to pay $28,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's "Save the Tiger Fund."

More indictments are expected soon.


Dominion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-By Adam M. Roberts

 

Whistlestop Tour Unites Soldiers in the Fight Against Animal Factories

Community buildings across the Midwest filled with farmers and concerned citizens in early December when Friends of Rural America and Illinois Stewardship Alliance organized a whistlestop tour through Iowa and Illinois for Waterkeeper Alliance Senior Attorney Nicolette Hahn and Southeast Representative Rick Dove. AWI's Farm Animal Advisor, Diane Halverson, organized a Minnesota whistlestop for Waterkeeper Alliance Founder and President Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks about the cruelty and environmental dangers of factory farming at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. (Doug McCrae/Faribault Daily News)


The tour galvanized various groups to fight corporate hog factories and led to massive press attention, including the Omaha World Herald and Des Moines Register. The St. Paul Pioneer Press proclaimed "Factory farms face threat of legal action;" while in Northfield, Minnesota, the Northfield News' headline read: "Kennedy: 'Day of reckoning coming.'" In Red Wing, Minnesota, the Red Wing Republican Eagle proclaimed "Kennedy warns audience of factory farms." The goal of the tour was to warn people living in regions burdened by animal factories about their dangers, identify citizens in need of legal support in their fight against factories, and provide details of Waterkeeper's legal actions against Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world's largest hog raiser and processor.

Waterkeeper Alliance has filed multiple legal actions against Smithfield under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the federal Clean Water Act, the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (the federal solid and hazardous waste law), and North Carolina state law. RICO is a powerful tool to rein in outlaw industries. One of the themes of the RICO complaint is that Smithfield's operation is funded by its illegal pollution-based profits. In violating environmental laws, which is an intended part of its business strategy, it is unlawfully shifting the cost of handling its pollution to the American public.

The tour culminated with Mr. Kennedy's stirring speech to an overflow crowd, including a dozen state legislators, attorneys from Minnesota's Office of Attorney General, family farmers, public interest activists, and interested citizens from seven states, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota on December 7. Preceding the meeting, AWI organized a press conference that included Waterkeeper Alliance, AWI and environmental, public health, and family farm activists, and a reception for Minnesota citizens who suffer from living in the shadow of animal factory pollution, stench and cruelty and who have organized to fight industrial farming.

Following are excerpts from Mr. Kennedy's presentation:

"Instead of raising hogs on farms they shoehorn thousands of animals into a building where they live in unspeakable misery in tiny confinement crates. They live without straw bedding, without rooting opportunities, without sunshine, without the social interactions that are critical to the happiness of these animals.

"What polluters do is make themselves rich by making other people poor. They raise standards of living for themselves by lowering quality of life for everybody else. And they do that by escaping the discipline of the free market, by forcing the public to pay part of their costs of production.

"I want to make one last point and it's probably the most important point, but I think it takes a higher level of understanding: the most important issue that we're dealing with here is not the environmental democracy issue but the issue of how we treat these animals...at some level, we begin treating these sentient beings with such unspeakable cruelty that it has to come back and hurt us and it's going to destroy our humanity.

"I'm going to close with a proverb from the Lakota people, appropriated to some extent by the environmental movement, where they said 'We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.'

If we don't return to them something roughly equivalent to what we received, they have a right to ask us some very difficult questions....Thank you for joining us in this fistfight. As long as we don't give up, we can never lose."

Loud Sonar Reined in by Legal Decisions

Loud Sonar Reined in by Legal Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Not Just GRASPing at Straws

Arguing that "every local extinction is a loss to humanity, a loss to the local community and a hole torn in the ecology of the planet," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has undertaken an ambitious new venture to save great apes across the globe: the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).

Across Africa and Asia, great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans) survive in 23 countries. But that survival is under constant assault as a result of war, deforestation, mining, capture of live animals for sale, conversion of forestlands for agriculture, and poaching for bushmeat. The billion-dollar-a-year international commerce in bushmeat has particularly dire implications for these primates. Their meat is not only sold locally and in city centers but is illegally exported for sale in western cities. Recently, a Nigerian couple was arrested for selling bushmeat illegally in London.

The GRASP team will establish survival plans in each great ape range country in an effort to equip wildlife law enforcement officers appropriately, preserve great ape habitat, and educate local people who live with this wildlife about the benefits of ecotourism focusing on great apes.

Dr. Eve Abe, formerly with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and now a co-director of GRASP's technical operations, noted, "Wildlife tourism is one of the mainstays of Uganda's economy and mountain gorillas are certainly the biggest draw, closely followed by chimpanzees. Uganda has pioneered the sharing of revenues from great ape tourism with local communities, and thousands of families now benefit directly from the presence of their gorilla and chimpanzee neighbors."

As UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Topfer, said, "The clock is standing at one minute to midnight for the Great Apes." But with the technical and financial resources that come through the collaborative Great Apes Survival Project, the clock may be stopped just long enough to save them.

Saving the Elephant Through Film

Saving the Elephant Through Film

With an enormous 20 foot tall inflatable elephant watching over hundreds of guests, the Species Survival Network reception during the 12th Conference of the Parties to CITES began with a showing of the film Wanted Dead or Alive produced by the African Environmental Film Foundation (AEFF). The film, available in eight languages including Arabic, Japanese, and Swahili, presents a comprehensive insight into the role played by the African elephant in the economy, ecology, sociology, and politics in Kenya today.

The film highlights the lasting effects of elephant poaching in Kenya in the 1970s and 1980s, the complexity of elephant society, and the threats posed to both people and animals by any resumption of the international commercial ivory trade. "Yet, through all the daunting challenges," notes the AEFF, "hope continues to burn strong: this film demonstrates the benefits Kenyans can gain by conserving the Elephant, which is not only part of their natural heritage, but is a vital player in their country's economy and ecology."

The film was produced by Simon Trevor, a long-time advocate for Africa's elephants. Simon has served as a game warden in Kenya's national parks and, after many years of successful commercial film-making, now devotes all of his time to the work of the AEFF. For more information, visit www.aeffonline.org.

 

Ebola Strikes in Gabon

In the West African nations of Gabon and the Republic of Congo, at least 34 people have died in a recent outbreak of the Ebola virus. Gabon's border with the Republic of the Congo has been sealed off and similar restrictions are being placed on provinces within the country. While the death toll rises from this disease, which is estimated to kill 90 percent of its victims, rumors swirl about whether the infection is being spread by the consumption of meat from infected primates.

A dead monkey awaits the cooking pot in Gabon. (AP/Wide World Photos)

Authorities in Gabon have urged local villagers to abstain from eating bushmeat, but it is unclear whether this sage advice will be heeded. According to a recent Reuters report, a traditional Christmas meal in Gabon could include monkeys, chimpanzees, gazelles, or wild boar. Other mammals in Gabon that have been identified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as being in the commercial bushmeat trade include the mandrill, Moustached monkey, Black colobus, and Grey-cheeked mangabey.

The CITES Bushmeat Working Group meeting in Cameroon in January 2001 revealed that some 68 species were threatened in Gabon by poaching for the bushmeat trade. However, the infrastructure to combat this poaching does not exist: staff is inadequately trained and the ability to monitor protected areas is lacking. Enforcement of Gabon's ban on bushmeat hunting is poor, and villagers apparently continue to consume the flesh of these wild animals, despite the potentially grave risks.

The Ebola virus (Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and can be spread through contact with an infected animal such as primates in Africa. According to the Centers for Disease Control, within a few days, patients may suffer flu-like symptoms. Within a week of infection, chest pain, shock, bleeding, blindness, and death may result.


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