Fall 2021

Volume
70
Number
3
Fall 2021 Quarterly Cover
About the Cover

AWI seeks to improve the lives of animals everywhere, including animals raised for food. We promote farming systems that allow animals to live outdoors and engage in natural behaviors, and we fight against inhumane methods of slaughter. “Custom-exempt” slaughter—conducted at small plants catering mostly to hunters and individuals processing meat for their personal use—is expected to comply with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. However, facilities designated as custom-exempt are subject to minimal oversight, and an AWI investigation found that animals at these plants are routinely subject to serious abuse. For more on our findings, see page 14.

Photograph by Matthias Kruck/EyeEm

Table of Contents

Animals in Laboratories

AWI is now accepting applications for 2021 Refinement Grants! Every year, AWI awards up to US$10,000 for research projects aimed at developing or testing creative ideas to improve the welfare of animals in research. Projects...
The Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) is an online platform, hosted by AWI, where individuals working with animals in research share ideas and experiences related to improving the welfare of animals under their...
A technique that is increasingly used worldwide to improve the welfare of rats in research is rat “tickling”—whereby humans make light, brisk, and vigorous movements with their fingertips on a rat’s neck and abdomen to...
Camilla Bengtsson and Marie Eriksson, researchers at the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, have recently gained some international acclaim for their unique approach to handling and training laboratory mice and rats to reduce stress, anxiety...
An administrative hearing is underway with respect to allegations of Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations leveled by the US Department of Agriculture against Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR), a supplier of chinchillas for experimentation. (See AWI...

Companion Animals

In another indictment of the US Department of Agriculture’s lax enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a new report from the department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) criticizes the USDA Animal Care (AC) program’s...
In 2011, AWI’s Safe Havens Mapping Project developed an integrated, comprehensive state-by-state listing of sheltering services for the animals of those experiencing domestic violence. Today, there are approximately 1,200 Safe Havens for Pets listings in...

Farm Animals

A federal court in New York recently denied the US Department of Agriculture’s motion to dismiss claims by AWI and other organizations alleging the department has illegally failed to regulate the humane treatment of nonambulatory...
Federal legislation known as the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act has been reintroduced in Congress. The PRIME Act would amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act to exempt from inspection the slaughter of...
In June, the World Organisation for Animal Health reported antimicrobials used for farm animals fell by one-third from 2015 to 2017, with 156 countries reporting decreased usage. Additionally, 70 percent of countries reported they do...
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is an international nonprofit organization seeking to eliminate death, injury, and economic loss due to fire and related hazards. It accomplishes this mission through development and publication of hundreds...
In June, the Illinois state legislature adopted a joint resolution creating the Illinois Good Food Purchasing Policy Task Force. The task force is charged with studying the state’s food procurement process to provide recommendations on...
As the country continues to battle COVID-19, the Biden administration is taking steps to strengthen the nation’s commodity supply chains and ensure increased resiliency against major disruptions in the future. Almost every aspect of American...

Humane Education

AWI, together with the Humane Education Network, congratulates the winners of the 2021 “A Voice for Animals” competition. Through video, photos, and essays, the contest encourages students age 14–18 to examine issues involving animal welfare...

Marine Life

More Florida manatees have died this year than in any previous year since records began. The cause is primarily starvation due to loss of seagrass beds, according to state officials. The Florida Fish and Wildlife...
The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) was held virtually July 16-31. One issue before the committee was Mexico’s efforts—or lack thereof—to stave off extinction of the vaquita, a porpoise species with only...
In May, the Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl container ship caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka while traveling through the Indian Ocean. The crew was evacuated, and the ship ultimately sank. Over 1,400 containers of...
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 gave the US coast along the Gulf of Mexico a preview of things to come, as severe weather worsens with climate change. In addition, decades of flood control along the Mississippi...
With support from AWI and other organizations, a joint International Whaling Commission/Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species virtual workshop was held in April 2021 on the role of cetaceans in ecosystem functioning. This was...

Wildlife

The Biden administration announced in June that it would suspend all leases and leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) until it completes a comprehensive environmental review of the program under the National...
On May 15, the New York Times published an investigation into the Bureau of Land Management’s Adoption Incentive Program (AIP), which pays individuals to adopt wild horses ($1,000 per animal). Some of these horses are...
In late May, a mysterious illness began killing songbirds in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Cases were then found in nine additional states (Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia)...
In its August 2021 report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states, “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and...
Around the world, tens of millions of animals are caged in filthy fur farms and subjected to cruel, body-crushing traps each year so their pelts can be turned into luxury fashion items. Fortunately, the global...
Since the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) stripped Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves across most of the country last year, the embattled animals have come under unprecedented attack in several states...
One of the most misguided, counterproductive, and inhumane forms of wildlife management in the United States is the annual mass killing of beavers (Castor canadensis). Each year, tens of thousands of the reclusive animals are...
Jeff and Lauren Lowe, of Tiger King fame, are closer than ever to being brought to justice. By the end of that wildly popular Netflix documentary, the couple had assumed ownership of Joe Exotic’s Greater...

Government Affairs

The House of Representatives passed two of AWI’s equine welfare priorities as part of the transportation and infrastructure package (HR 3684). One is an amendment banning the transport of equines to slaughter. Led by Representatives...
Since 2017, the alarming number of North Atlantic right whale deaths from entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes has been deemed an “unusual mortality event” under the Marine Mammal Protection Act by NOAA. In...
AWI supported House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in reintroducing the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (HR 4716) in July. This bill would prohibit the possession or use of body-gripping traps—which endanger wildlife, people...
On World Oceans Day (June 8) the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which would prohibit the sale, purchase, and possession of shark fins in the United States, passed the Senate as part of the United...
Every year, the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program spends millions of dollars on lethal, ineffective predator control, including chemical poisons such as M-44 sodium cyanide devices. Last year, Congress awarded the program $1.38...

Reviews

There are only nine known species of caracaras. And though their populations are small and confined, they “refuse to behave like a species on the verge of extinction.” What seems like the most important idea...
Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction, by Michelle Nijhuis, is a cross between a Ken Burns–style historical documentary and the 2016 film Hidden Figures, bringing to life the history of key...
More and more, advances in animal cognition research are changing the ways in which people perceive animals. Belinda Recio’s latest book, When Animals Rescue: Amazing True Stories about Heroic and Helpful Creatures, powerfully contributes to...

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