Summer 2009

Summer 2009 AWI Quarterly Cover - Photo by Michael Durham/ Minden Pictures
About the Cover

This nine-week-old North American coyote pup faces an uncertain future in a hostile environment where traps and snares frequently maim, kill or orphan wildlife. Each year in the United States, millions of wild animals—including coyote, wolf, bobcat, badger, raccoon, marten and fisher—fall victim to steel-jaw leghold traps and neck snares used by fur trappers, livestock ranchers, and predator control agents. Thousands of wild animals are being trapped as part of a US government-backed trap testing program that is coming under increasing national and international debate. To read more on trapping, see page 16.

Photo by Michael Durham/ Minden Pictures

Table of Contents

Animals in Laboratories

In what the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) hopes will be the death knell for this cruel cottage industry, a National Academy of Sciences Committee report released on May 29 and funded by the National Institutes...

Farmed Animals

by Tom Garrett It is not only war that is, in Churchill’s words, “accompanied by a bodyguard of lies.” We live in a time when lies, perhaps more than ever before, are day-to-day tools of...
The nonprofit group Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards (HOMES) of Jo Daviess County, Ill., achieved yet another victory against a massive, industrial-scale dairy operation.
In an exciting new development, the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association (NCNHGA) and Fudge Family Farms have begun requiring all of their member farms to be accredited by the Animal Welfare Approved program, whose...

Marine Wildlife

A group of five pygmy killer whales appeared in the shallow waters off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kihei in early May - a worrisome and rare sight, since the species’ habitat is...
Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) and co-sponsors Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) recently introduced the International Whale Conservation and Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 2455) in the House of...
The brutal annual slaughter of Canada’s harp seals may be gasping its last breaths this year.
A recent study published in Current Biology by a group of international researchers shows that Caribbean reef fish populations have been steadily declining for more than a decade.
Until recently, the winter whereabouts of the basking shark has stymied marine biologists. But according to a report published online in Current Biology, the mystery has finally been solved.
An emergency rule to protect loggerhead sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico took effect on May 18 and will be upheld for at least 180 days.
Critical issues were on the agenda for the 61st International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, held June 22 to 25 in Madeira, Portugal; but those that were addressed were principally the minor ones.
The largest known population of leatherback turtles was discovered on the beaches of Gabon, West Africa, by an international team of scientists in May, Science Daily reports.

Terrestrial Wildlife

Elephants in West Africa continue to struggle for survival during the worst drought in 26 years, reports African elephant conservation group Save the Elephants.
The government of South Africa, one of the largest captive hunting regions on the globe, officially banned the canned hunting of lions in June.
Results of a joint study between the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Vietnam’s Forest Protection Department revealed in May that commercial wildlife farms in Vietnam are threatening Asian animal species by depleting their populations and...
Although wolves may not have drastic economic repercussions on the livestock industry as a whole, they can substantially affect individual ranchers when depredations become chronic.
A three-month-old fox kit in the UK was rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) this spring after enduring about two weeks caught in a body snare. Despite suffering...
To the disappointment of many, the Obama administration failed to rescind two decisions made under the Bush administration that will negatively impact gray wolves and polar bears.
Bats in the eastern US are now facing what could be their biggest challenge, with hundreds of thousands reported dead by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and many species heading toward extinction.
Almost every wildlife biologist has experienced the sinking feeling of finding an injured or dead animal in a live-trap.
You may have never thought twice about a horseshoe crab—or even once for that matter—but lately, people are noticing that perhaps they should.
Greenwash: The dissemination of misleading information by an organization to conceal its abuse of the environment in order to present a positive public image.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, and a West Virginia local conservationist filed a complaint against Beech Ridge Energy and its parent company in June, contending that their massive industrial wind...
Despite the trapping industry’s sanguine spin, the fur market is bottoming out, presumably due to the global recession.

Government Affairs

The Restore Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act (H.R. 1018), introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), will restore the protections...
Following passage of the Shark Conservation Act (H.R. 81) in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) introduced a Senate companion bill (S. 850) to firmly close loopholes in the...
The annual appropriations process for fiscal year 2010 will begin in October, offering an avenue to improve animal welfare by directing Congress to spend - or not spend - money in certain ways.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced in June its intent to eradicate the state’s mute swan population by "reducing it to as low a level as can be achieved."
The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727) now has more than 140 cosponsors in the House and nearly a quarter of the Senate on board.


At the request of the Soliciter General, the Supreme Court will review a case from the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia, PA, which overturned a conviction involving so-called "crush videos"...

In Remembrance

The animal protection community lost a true champion for chimpanzees on May 2, when Dr. Carole Noon passed away at 59 years of age after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Chris Fisher, a bright, energetic and determined individual, passed away in April.
Member of the Scientific Committee of the Animal Welfare Institute since 1967, Dr. Marjorie Anchel-Rackow passed away on April 29, a week shy of her 99th birthday.
After 40 tireless years of advocating for animals, Princess Elisabeth de Croÿ passed away on May 18.


In her new book, Animal Investigators: How the World’s First Wildlife Forensics Lab is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species, Laurel Neme, PhD, tells the true story of a group of scientists who are the...
Roots of Human Behavior is a vibrant photo documentation of the parallels between animal and human expressions, emotions and psychology. It is another book in a series of AWI publications whose purpose is to improve...
The Cove is a highly suspenseful documentary that introduces viewers to Ric O’Barry, the dolphin trainer from the 1960s hit television series "Flipper."