Spring 2015

Spring 2015 AWI Quarterly - Cover, Photo by Mike Suarez
Volume
64
Number
2
About the Cover

Pasture-raised sheep graze at an Animal Welfare Approved high-welfare farm. At such farms, the emphasis is on breeding and husbandry techniques that enable animals to thrive in natural settings and engage in species-appropriate behaviors.

Not so at the US Department of Agriculture’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska. There, the emphasis is on engineering animals that can serve as anonymous units of ever-increasing production. An investigative report printed this year in The New York Times revealed ghastly production-boosting experiments performed at MARC—studies that  indicate a shocking disregard for the pain and suffering of the animals involved.

Such unconscionable research is allowed to go on in large part because agricultural research involving farm animals is exempt from scrutiny under the Animal Welfare Act. AWI is urging the USDA to reign in its rogue facility, and urging Congress to end the Animal Welfare Act's farm animal research exemption. For more on this story, see pages 20 and 22.

Photo by Mike Suarez

Table of Contents

Wildlife

In response to legal pressure from AWI and its allies, Mendocino County, California, officials have agreed to suspend the planned renewal of the county’s contract with the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program, pending...
On March 5, 2015, Feld Entertainment, Inc., the world’s largest live family entertainment company and owner of the largest number of Asian elephants in North America, announced it would end elephant performances in its Ringling...
Clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems are of immeasurable value to people and wildlife. But we need a full picture of what contaminants are circulating in our waterways and where they are originating to properly...
In many communities throughout the United States, particularly in the Northeast, if you want to rile up the neighbors ask them about deer. Many people see these big-eyed ungulates as real-life Bambis, survivors in a...
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) gave the green light in March for two American hunters to import one black rhino carcass each from Namibia as trophies. One hunter, Michael Luzich, had already shot...

Animals in Laboratories

AWI is dedicated to improving the care, housing and handling of animals in research facilities. From our earliest days, we have encouraged laboratory personnel to provide animals with comfortable housing and the opportunity to engage...

Government Affairs

The appropriations process offers an opportunity to press for policies that can be implemented by providing or withholding funds for agency activities. On this front, AWI has been working to ensure that any funding increase...
A number of bills have been introduced in the 114th Congress that would undermine animal welfare; many of them take aim directly at endangered species (such as wolves), or at the Endangered Species Act itself,...

Marine Life

A federal judge ruled on March 31 that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) acted illegally in approving US Navy testing and training activities that threaten widespread harm to marine life in a vast region...
We pour a lot of plastic into the world’s oceans—directly and through the myriad waterways that spill into the seas. A pioneering study published in Science in February estimated that, in 2010 alone, we dumped...
On April 18, Dr. Naomi Rose gave a talk on captive orcas at TedX Bend in Oregon . She focused on the idea that family is everything to orcas and that captivity destroys their family-oriented...
In May 1999, whalers from the Makah Tribe in northwestern Washington state killed a gray whale—something they had not done since the 1920s. Even the few tribal elders who could remember the last kill did...
Dr. Naomi Rose of AWI attended the launch of a new coalition called Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE), on March 4, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Comprised of more than a dozen nonprofit animal charities,...
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) released a revised wild mute swan management plan in which it backs away (somewhat) from its initial proposal to eradicate all 2,200 mute swans, a nonnative...
In March of this year, as noted on page 2, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the Makah Tribe’s proposed hunt of gray whales—the first step toward...

Companion Animals

In many cities, horse-drawn carriages are seen as tourist attractions, taking visitors on tours of city streets and evoking nostalgic images of days gone by. Yet, underlying these quaint notions is the reality for the...

Farm Animals

The animal agriculture industry is responsible for an estimated 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A significant portion of environmental degradation from animal agriculture can be attributed to factory farms, where waste—whether it is...
Responding swiftly to the New York Times exposé of cruel experiments involving farm animals at the US Department of Agriculture’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Nebraska, members of Congress introduced bills to provide protection...
Approximately 305 million egg-laying hens live in the United States at any given time. Between 90 and 95 percent of these birds are packed into tiny, barren wire cages that are stacked in rows, one...
Compass Group, Sodexo, and Aramark, three of the largest food service companies, announced a commitment to purchase liquid eggs from cage-free hens for US sales.
As reported in the Winter 2015 Quarterly , USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), in Clay Center, Nebraska, has come under intense scrutiny after a January 19 article in The New York Times described indefensible...
Millions of animals are exported from the United States annually—over 7.5 million animals in January 2015 alone. Most are shipped in aircrafts, but many are transported overseas in ocean vessels. These trips may last weeks...

Reviews

John Hargrove was the first of several former orca trainers to appear in Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish . A 14-year veteran of SeaWorld, he was a top trainer there until August 2012. Hargrove was working...
Pig Tales , James Beard Award–winner Barry Estabrook’s investigation into the commercial pork industry, travels over ground familiar to many farm animal welfare advocates. Illustrating that “factory raised meat may be cheap, but those inexpensive...
According to Hormel Foods, the producers of SPAM, 3.1 cans of the preserved pork product are consumed every second in the United States. If everyone read Ted Genoways’ The Chain, it is possible that this...

Legal

In December 2014, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an audit that was highly critical of the department’s enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (as described in the Winter...

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