Winter 2020

Volume
69
Number
4
Photograph by Mark Newman
About the Cover

The spotlight this issue is on two wolf species—the red wolf (shown on the cover) and the gray wolf. AWI is suing the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for grossly mismanaging its Red Wolf Recovery Program (page 14). Meanwhile, the USFWS has lifted protections under the Endangered Species Act for gray wolves, leaving them at the mercy of state managers (page 16). Two projects funded through our Christine Stevens Wildlife Award program seek to ease human–wolf conflicts through noninvasive study of wolf behavior and deployment of nonlethal methods to prevent wolf predation on livestock (pages 12 and 13).

Photograph by Mark Newman

Table of Contents

Animals in Laboratories

Each year, AWI awards several Refinement Grants to investigators in the United States and Canada to support innovative research projects aimed at improving the welfare of animals in research. We wish to congratulate this year’s...
by Megan R. LaFollette, Sylvie Cloutier, Colleen M. Brady, Marguerite E. O’Haire, and Brianna N. Gaskill A new study (LaFollette et al. 2020. Animals 10(8): 1435), supported by a grant from AWI, shows that implementation...
AWI’s Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF) is an electronic discussion forum facilitating the factual exchange of experiences about ways to refine the conditions under which animals are housed and handled in research institutions...
On October 1, the National Institutes of Health provided its annual update regarding government-owned and government-supported chimpanzees retired from research, including data on those who are still held in laboratories. The NIH has announced that...

Companion Animals

Since 2011, AWI has managed the Safe Havens Mapping Project—a searchable database of sheltering services that can assist individuals experiencing domestic violence in placing their companion animals out of harm’s way. AWI works to spread...
Since its peak in 1985, greyhound racing in the United States has been on the decline. Once the last track in Texas closed in June 2020, only four states—Arkansas, Iowa, West Virginia, and Florida—had active...
Shortly before Thanksgiving, a stray dog was brought to a local shelter in San Antonio. The dog was scanned and found to have a microchip that identified his family. After receiving a call, the dog’s...
Loganton, Pennsylvania, a tiny one-square-mile Amish farming community, is home to 468 residents and 15 USDA-licensed guinea pig breeders. While this may suggest the community has a fondness for these animals, the Animal Welfare Act...

Farm Animals

The suffering of birds at federally inspected slaughter establishments is staggering. During the winter months, trucks arrive at the plants with birds who are dead and frozen to their transport cages. Surviving birds sometimes sit...
AWI has updated A Consumer’s Guide to Food Labels and Animal Welfare to help shoppers make food choices with animal welfare in mind. The changes include our assessment of two new labels, One Health Certified...
Over the past several decades, the poultry industry has used selective breeding to double the average market weight of chickens raised for meat while cutting nearly in half the amount of time it takes for...
Since the early 1800s, at least, turkey has been a traditional part of holiday dinners in America. Approximately 50 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving each year, with another 22 million killed for Christmas dinner...
As of November, over 50,000 workers at meat and poultry slaughter facilities had been infected with COVID-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined that the spread of COVID-19 at some facilities is largely...

Humane Education

Last December, for the first time ever, AWI offered a scholarship to high school seniors who are engaged in bettering the lives of animals and who plan to pursue a course of study that would...

Marine Life

In October 2019, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) indicated it had received a permit application from Mystic Aquarium to import five captive-born beluga whales from MarineLand in Canada, for the purposes of scientific research...
Little White and Little Grey, two young belugas originally captured from Russia’s Okhotsk Sea and held in a dolphinarium in Shanghai, China, for a decade, are now the first residents in the world’s first cetacean...
Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity, by journalist David Kirby, is a 2012 book that examines the killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by the orca Tilikum. The...
On August 14, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a permit to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as several tribal entities, to kill up to 540 California sea lions and 176 Steller sea...
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the meeting schedules of many international conventions, with most in-person meetings canceled or postponed (see AWI Quarterly, fall 2020). The biennial meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was among...
In 2017, France’s minister of ecology issued a decree phasing out the captive display of cetaceans through a breeding and trade ban. Decrees in France are similar to executive orders in the United States and...
AWI participated as an invited expert in the fourth series of meetings of the Caribbean Marine Mammals Preservation Network (CARI’MAM) in October and November. This year’s meetings were held virtually. CARI’MAM comprises marine mammal stakeholders...
In an unprecedented statement, 361 cetacean scientists, including AWI’s Dr. Naomi Rose, have signed an open letter expressing grave concern about the risk of extinction of many species and populations of cetaceans due to entanglement...

Wildlife

In 2019, Wildlife Services killed 2.2 million animals, including 1.2 million native wildlife species, according to data released in October 2020. AWI is co-leading a coalition of organizations working to ensure that this US Department...
In November, AWI and allies sued the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by grossly mismanaging the wild red wolf population in North Carolina. The red wolf once...
article by Zoë Hanley, Defenders of Wildlife; research conducted by Defenders of Wildlife field conservation staff Gray wolf expansion into previously occupied habitat is among the most ecologically successful but socially controversial wildlife restoration efforts...
In September, California enacted a law placing a moratorium on the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) until new restrictions are adopted to better protect wildlife from these highly toxic chemicals. The law also bans...
One hundred years ago, Côte d’Ivoire—a nation that takes its name from the once-flourishing ivory trade that ran through its ports—was home to between 3,000 and 5,000 forest elephants. Today, according to a study by...
Forest elephant populations throughout Central and West Africa have declined from 700,000 to 100,000 animals over the past several decades, primarily due to poaching and habitat loss. In Central Africa alone, scientists have reported a...
In October, the US Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule removing Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for all gray wolves in the lower 48 states except for a small population of Mexican wolves in...
by Dr. Angela Dassow, Carthage College Wolf–human conflicts are an ongoing concern that can lead to both legal and illegal killing of wild wolves, poor support for wild carnivore welfare among local human populations, and...
The major players perpetuating the big cat trade in the United States are a small network of eccentric individuals who have been profiting off animal suffering for decades. The hit Netflix series Tiger King: Murder...

Government Affairs

A Message from the President As we approach the end of the year, AWI is continuing to hold the line for animals. We look forward to 2021 and are eager to work with the new...
For over 50 years, birds have been denied protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Twenty years ago, the animal welfare community won a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture challenging this exclusion. Since...
On September 29, the House of Representatives passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HR 1754) by voice vote. Led by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), the bill would crack down on...
With a new administration taking the helm in January, we can expect an end to the damaging wildlife and environmental policies that have unfortunately been a hallmark of the current administration (see page 2). The...
One of the stark realities COVID-19 has forced us to confront is the huge risk posed by zoonotic diseases—pathogens passed from nonhuman animals to humans. COVID is merely the latest and most devastating example of...

Reviews

Netflix’s My Octopus Teacher is a visually breathtaking film that provides an intimate glimpse into the world of another species. When famed documentary filmmaker Craig Foster found himself unable to feel joy from any of...
Tales from the Ant World, by famed naturalist E. O. Wilson, is full of interesting, absorbable facts about ants (at the time of writing 15,438 species had been recognized, with Wilson estimating almost twice that...
As part of an ethnographic study, Katja Guenther—an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at UC Riverside—spent three years as a volunteer at a high-intake animal shelter in metropolitan Los Angeles. In the opening...

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