Summer 2023

Volume
72
Number
2
giant manta ray - photo by Adobe Stock
About the Cover

In March, nations of the world reached agreement on the High Seas Treaty—an effort to protect the vast oceans beyond the jurisdiction of any nation. The treaty will seek to safeguard the tremendous biodiversity of these areas, including our cover animal, the endangered giant manta ray. Closer to shore, an effort is underway to protect giant mantas and a number of other ray species that ply the waters of the Mesoamerican Reef. With help from a Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from AWI, scientists are using noninvasive techniques to assess the diversity, distribution, and abundance of these rays.

Table of Contents

Animals in Laboratories

Located in upstate New York, Farm Sanctuary’s New York shelter is home to more than 500 rescued animals, including cows, pigs, and chickens. As described in a recent New York Times article—“Why Did the Chicken...
“Animal welfare is our top priority.” These words are recited like a refrain whenever someone raises concerns about the use of animals for experimentation, testing or education. Next come assurances that the institution “follows all...

Companion Animals

With the war in Ukraine now well into its second year, the level of destruction that continues to be inflicted upon the country’s people and animals is truly staggering. Ongoing loss of life and mass...

Farmed Animals

Out of sight, out of mind. The adage captures one of AWI’s central concerns when it comes to the slaughter of pigs in the United States. Most are stunned or killed in the steel-walled confines...
In March, the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)—which provides federal loans to farmers and ranchers—must assess the environmental impact of medium-sized...
The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a state law prohibiting counties from imposing regulations on industrial hog operations does not violate the Missouri Constitution. The ruling upholds a lower court decision that county ordinances...
In April, a massive fire and explosion occurred on South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt, Texas, tragically killing around 18,000 cows. This is the deadliest fire involving cattle since AWI began tracking barn fires in 2013...
The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing, for the first time, to treat Salmonella as an adulterant for purposes of the Poultry Products Inspection Act. Under the proposal, breaded...
Four US senators, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), have written to Sandra Eskin, the US Department of Agriculture’s deputy under secretary for food safety, expressing concern about the department’s process for evaluating animal-raising claims...
In March, a judge in the US District Court, Western District of New York, dismissed a lawsuit brought by AWI and six other animal advocacy organizations to protect the welfare of nonambulatory disabled (NAD) pigs...

Marine Life

In August 2022, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a positive 90-day finding regarding a petition from the sea urchin fishery in California to remove the southern sea otter subspecies (also known as...
In September 2021, AWI, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and VIVA Vaquita, petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the Atlantic humpback dolphin as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)...
In May, scientists conducted a survey in the Upper Gulf of California, looking for the world’s most endangered cetacean: the vaquita. Equipped with powerful binoculars and hydrophones, trained observers sought to detect the elusive species...
The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) met in Bled, Slovenia, in May. At these intense, annual two-week working meetings, up to 200 international cetacean biologists and policy experts discuss a broad range...
In March 2023, after nearly 20 years of planning and negotiations, governments of the world agreed to the final text of the High Seas Treaty (HST). The treaty establishes important rules to protect the “high...
Tropical rays occupy important roles in benthic ecosystems, as their foraging behaviors contribute to soft sediment turnover, which makes food available and creates microhabitats for other species. The Mesoamerican Reef (MAR), from the northern tip...

Terrestrial Wildlife

In March, AWI submitted comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) urging the agency to ban the import of live African elephants and their trophies into the United States due to significant welfare...
A conspicuous patrol airplane cruising at low altitude over a Kenyan National Park has an impact similar to a conspicuous police car cruising along an American interstate highway: It produces a prompt and significant decline...
Snares are indiscriminate tools of torture used around the world to capture wild animals—primarily for food but also for trade in animal parts. Made from inexpensive materials such as rope, wire, plastic, and automotive clutch...
AWI continues its partnership with the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance by providing support to three member sanctuaries in Africa this year: the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project in The Gambia, the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, and...
According to a study published in Nature Climate Change (Schmitz et al., 2023), policies to protect and rebuild densities of global wildlife populations would also combat climate change. Such “trophic rewilding” could supplement other natural...

Government Affairs

AWI has been working with members of the House of Representatives and Senate to raise the profile of animal welfare issues and to secure members’ support for stand-alone animal welfare bills as well as for...
In February, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the RESCUE Whales Act (HR 1213). This bill would repeal harmful language included in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus funding package that significantly threatens the survival and recovery...
In a surprise move, the US Department of Agriculture published a notice that it was considering changes to its Animal Welfare Act regulations to improve the handling of wild and exotic animals as well as...
In March, Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) reintroduced the Marine Mammal Climate Change Protection Act (HR 1383), to protect marine mammals adversely affected by the climate crisis. Since 1972, the Marine Mammal Protection Act has prohibited...
AWI spearheaded the introduction in June of the Mink VIRUS Act (HR 3783), sponsored by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). This bill would establish a one-year phaseout of mink fur farms in the United States and...

In Remembrance

David Kirby, an award-winning investigative journalist, died on April 16 at the age of 62, after a series of health setbacks that began in late January after a fall. David had been active in the...

Reviews

Animal Liberation Now: The Definitive Classic Renewed is the latest update to Peter Singer’s seminal 1975 book, Animal Liberation. While the facts and figures have been updated, the ultimate message has not changed significantly. Now...
National Geographic’s newly released four-part docuseries, Secrets of the Elephants, streaming on Disney+, takes an in-depth look at the complex behaviors of elephants living in southern Asia and in savannas, rainforests, and the Namib Desert...
Alick Simmons, former deputy chief veterinary officer for the United Kingdom, acknowledges that he has “actively facilitated exploitative interactions with animals.” But so have the rest of us, he writes in his intriguing book, Treated...