AWI Quarterly » 2012 Summer

Summer 2012 Quarterly Cover
Summer 2012 Volume 61 Number 3
Meanwhile, veterinarian and ethologist, Viktor Reinhardt—at that time an attending veterinarian at the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center—was busy laying the foundation for a new paradigm in primate housing. Viktor recognized that the housing and care of animals in research needed to change, and proceeded to find feasible ways to make improvements for the monkeys— mostly rhesus macaques—at the Center. He documented the psychological suffering of social primates who were housed in isolation, and the pain and distress of those who endured forcible restraint for blood draws and other procedures.
For animals in the wild, days and nights are not delineated via a flick of the switch on the wall. Rather, dawn brings on a gradual waxing of the light, and night falls in an extended, dusky fade to black. Conversely, in laboratory settings (unless the animals are housed in rooms exposed to natural light), day often begins with a jolt of intense light accompanied by the unannounced appearance of humans, and ends with abrupt darkness and sudden solitude.
Yet another trailer crammed with horses on their way to slaughter has crashed, and this time the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has stepped in to see that the company responsible loses its wheels—at least for now.
Under the Horse Protection Act (HPA), representatives (known as “Designated Qualified Persons,” or DQPs) of certified horse industry organizations (HIOs) are authorized to inspect horses at shows and sales and to cite individuals for horse soring violations and assess penalties. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), some HIOs “have declined to issue sufficiently serious penalties to deter soring….”
Rhode Island is the latest state to ban the use of intensive confinement crates to house calves raised for veal and breeding (or “gestating”) sows, bringing the total number of states banning farm animal confinement crates to nine.
When the U.s. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the country’s first national standards for organic production and established the National Organic Program (NOP) in 2000, provisions dealing with the treatment of the animals being raised were all but absent. From the beginning, the organic regulations required that animals be given freedom of movement and access to the outdoors, fresh air and direct sunlight.
To help consumers navigate the market, AWI has created A Consumer's Guide to Food Labels and Animal Welfare. The most common claims related to farm animal welfare are defined and placed into one of three categories: Certified Labels (such as AWI’s “Animal Welfare Approved”), Unverified Claims (such as “free range”), or Meaningless/Misleading Claims (such as “natural”).
Americans tuning in to ABC Nightly News one evening last fall were likely shocked by video footage of the inhumane treatment of laying hens at several facilities owned by egg giant, Sparboe Farms. The footage captured routine cruelties commonly practiced in the egg industry, such as beak cutting without pain relief, as well as acts of intentional cruelty toward the birds by workers.
Raising pigs according to the industrial farming model is a study in homogeny. In industry parlance, “quality control” means having all the same pigs fed all the same food while housed in uniformly dark, cramped facilities with concrete-slatted floors. Maximum efficiency with minimal attention to animal welfare.
SeaWorld was dealt a blow in late May when Judge Ken S. Welsch of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission upheld an OSHA ruling that stemmed from the death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010. In the prior ruling, OSHA found SeaWorld’s safety protocols inadequate to protect trainers.
“Concerning oceans, there is reason to suggest that the outcomes could be characterized as Rio+20 minus 40.” That was the assessment of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle as she reported on the decided lack of progress from the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the second decadal follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is proposing to end an exemption that has allowed some shrimp boats to avoid the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs)—apparently to the detriment of endangered sea turtles.
Forty-eight tigers were reportedly killed in India from January through the beginning of June this year, double the 2011 rate. Most of the deaths occurred in Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and in the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, and most are believed to be at the hands of poachers.
Six people and 14 rare okapi at a conservation center in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were brutally murdered June 24 by mai mai rebels. The killings occurred in retaliation against staff at the Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature for thwarting the rebels’ elephant poaching operations in the region. Two guards, the wife of one of the guards, and three civilians were among the dead.