Spring 2021

Volume
70
Number
1
Photograph by ElementalImaging
About the Cover

Mink in the wild are high-energy animals, always on the move and on the alert. They can adapt to life in forests, grasslands—even semideserts, if enough water is present. As indicated on the cover, they are also perfectly happy to roam intertidal zones in search of crustaceans, fish, and other prey. In contrast, mink on fur farms lead lives of extreme confinement, under miserable (and largely unregulated) conditions. Mink farms, in addition to being cruel, are under increasing scrutiny as incubators of COVID-19. It is time to end mink farming in the United States. To learn more, turn to page 14.

Photograph by ElementalImaging

Table of Contents

Animals in Laboratories

In a landmark new study, scientists have shown that cuttlefish are capable of delaying gratification, and that those who choose to delay longer are also more intelligent (Schnell et al., 2021). Cuttlefish are only the...
A common feature of captive environments is that they deprive individuals of agency—that is, they constrain individuals’ ability to make decisions and exercise control over their environment. Agency is recognized as an important component of...
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a motion-capture system that allows for the markerless 3D tracking of free-moving macaques (Bala et al., 2020). The new technology, called OpenMonkeyStudio, can accurately detect the poses...
In the United States, the number of rats and mice used each year for experimentation, testing, and teaching is shrouded in secrecy. The current industry estimate, as reported in Science, is somewhere between 10 and...

Farm Animals

At the start of 2021, animal protection organization Humane Farming Association (HFA) filed suit against the Massachusetts attorney general for failing to promulgate regulations mandated under the state’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. The...
AWI filed challenges before the Federal Trade Commission in February against Boar’s Head over the company’s claim its chicken sausage and Simplicity All Natural turkey products derive from animals who are “humanely raised.” There is...
This past year, over 1.6 million farm animals were reported killed in barn fires across the United States, making 2020 the deadliest year since AWI began tracking these incidents through media reports. Since 2013, more...
Thomas Vilsack has returned as secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, a post he held previously during the Obama administration. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, spent the past four years lobbying for the US...
Recently, the Agricultural Advisory Board of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food adopted best management practices for the state’s animal agriculture industries. The new animal care standards, which will be reviewed annually by the...

Humane Education

“Even if animals were to experience pain differently: humans shouldn’t be harming them at all,” reads the last line of an essay question response submitted by one of AWI’s recent scholarship winners. The question—which asks...
The AWI Scholarship isn’t the only way we are encouraging students who are committed to making a difference for animals. AWI and the Humane Education Network are excited to present the 31st annual “A Voice...

Marine Life

AWI and a number of allies and partners have been working to minimize the harm to five beluga whales scheduled for import to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut from Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for research...
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has published a draft rule to establish a commercial whale-watching licensing program in Puget Sound. AWI submitted comments supporting strong oversight to maximize protection of Southern Resident orcas...
A February 2021 report commissioned by the UK government provides a sobering economic analysis to explain why we must change the way we interact with nature if we wish to avert disaster. The Economics of...
Scientists from NOAA Fisheries have identified a new species of baleen whale in the Gulf of Mexico. The new species, previously thought to be a subspecies of the Bryde’s whale, has been named Rice’s whale...
The Wider Caribbean Region has lost a wonderful conservation champion. Paul Hoetjes of Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands, died in November after a short illness. AWI was fortunate to have worked with Paul over the past two...
February saw a rare winter storm hit southern US states, including an unprecedented blackout that caused multiple human and animal deaths. In Texas, the storm affected natural gas plants and pipelines, nuclear power facilities, coal-fired...

Wildlife

Ever wonder where the fur in that celebrity’s designer parka came from? Chances are, it came from a terrified mink in a tiny cage. About 85 percent of the fur used in coats, scarves, wraps...
The president and the executive branch hold enormous sway in setting US wildlife policy—from signing (or vetoing) wildlife-related legislation, to issuing orders and regulations that enhance (or remove) protections for wildlife and habitat, to nominating...
The US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled in January that the US Fish and Wildlife Service must quickly draft and execute a plan to resume releasing captive red wolves into...
In the former administration’s final days, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a rule that weakens the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by no longer penalizing individuals and corporations for the “incidental” killing of...
Last October, the Bureau of Land Management finalized plans to employ an inhumane surgical sterilization procedure—ovariectomy via colpotomy—to control the population of wild horses in Utah’s Confusion Herd Management Area (HMA). (See AWI Quarterly, winter...
In the United Kingdom, gray squirrels are an exotic species, first introduced in the 1870s. While the gray squirrel population has grown to an estimated 2.7 million, native red squirrels have declined from a reported...
Billions of birds fatally collide with human-made structures each year. These mortalities have consequences for avian population viability and the conservation of endangered species. This source of human-wildlife conflict also places economic and operational constraints...
AWI is now accepting applications for its 2021 Christine Stevens Wildlife Award grant program. Established in 2006 and named in honor of the organization’s late founder and long-time president, this grant program provides grants each...

Government Affairs

The 117th Congress got underway in January, and a number of AWI-supported animal welfare bills were reintroduced within the first few weeks. Among them are the Preventing Future Pandemics Act, which would prohibit the import...
The Horse Protection Act (HPA) was enacted in 1970 to clamp down on the scourge of “soring”—the term for a host of abusive practices inflicted upon Tennessee walking horses and related breeds to produce an...
After years of delay, NOAA Fisheries released a proposed rule in December 2020 to reduce the number of North Atlantic right whales killed by gear in northeast lobster and Jonah crab fisheries. More than 900,000...
The lights were just about to be turned out on 2020 when Congress finally wrapped up its spending bill for the 2021 fiscal year, which had begun on October 1. Thanks to the hard work...
Once again, we are forced to highlight the abysmal state of enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in recent years. As made plain by the graphs on this...
The American Rescue Plan Act, signed on March 11 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, contains funding to address public health risks resulting from the exploitation of animals. The law allocates $300 million to the...

Reviews

If you have been searching for an engaging new hobby to help you recover from the COVID-19 doldrums, Celebrating Birds: An Interactive Field Guide Featuring Art from Wingspan is an ideal entry point into the...
Grieving the loss of his beloved miniature pinscher Wolfgang, Steve Greig begins rescuing elderly, unwanted, “unadoptable” dogs, welcoming them into his Colorado home, and giving them a new lease on life. When he reaches nine...
Wild Rituals: 10 Lessons Animals Can Teach Us About Connection, Community, and Ourselves is an entertaining and educational book by Dr. Caitlin O’Connell, an elephant scientist and behavioral ecologist. O’Connell’s premise is that humans can...

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