The Animal Welfare Institute was founded in 1951 and is dedicated to alleviating suffering inflicted on animals by humans. We need your help to continue our efforts. Please join us by making a membership donation.
Members enjoy many benefits, including a subscription to the AWI Quarterly magazine and an opportunity to receive free copies of our books and other materials as they are published. In addition, we keep you informed of AWI's progress with special mailings as well as an annual report.
With minimal overhead, we put your tax-deductible contribution to work immediately to help animals. AWI consistently receives high ratings from charity watchdog organizations for its wise use of contributions.
The minimum donation for AWI membership is $35, except for a $10 student or senior citizen membership. When you donate, you will automatically begin receiving the AWI Quarterly, and you are immediately eligible for member benefits. Also, ordering an AWI Quarterly subscription through our publication store constitutes a membership donation.
Why Donate to AWI?
Here are some of our most memorable successes in 2016—made achievable by the support and donations from our dedicated members across the globe:
- For years, AWI has brought public scrutiny to the allegations against Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (SCBT)—one of the world’s largest research antibody suppliers—concerning its multiple alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act and has called for the USDA to take action. AWI’s efforts resulted in thousands of letters to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and other USDA officials. In May 2016, the USDA reached a settlement agreement with SCBT, resulting in the cancellation of the facility’s research registration, revocation of its dealer license, and payment of a historic $3.5 million civil penalty.
- AWI co-sponsored groundbreaking legislation signed by California Governor Jerry Brown in September 2016, prohibiting the breeding and theatrical performance of captive orcas in California, as well as their export, consistent with federal law, out of North America. AWI worked with the author of the legislation, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, for two years to secure its passage.
- In response to an AWI petition, in April 2016, the US National Marine Fisheries Service proposed that the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River population of beluga whales in Russia be designated as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The rule was finalized in October 2016, helping US agencies promote stronger protections for this population of belugas and ensuring that no US aquarium facilities can import belugas from the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River population—as Georgia Aquarium first attempted to do in 2012.
- A policy change, first proposed to the FBI by AWI staff over 12 years ago, was finally implemented in January 2016. The change adds animal cruelty crimes as a separate offense under the agency’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Program, the prime source of information on crime in the United States. AWI is currently working across the country with animal control officers and humane society law enforcement—often the first to respond to animal cruelty incidents—about the importance of their role in the reporting process.
- The USDA overhauled its live animal export regulations, incorporating measures recommended by AWI in a petition submitted to the department. The final rule went into effect in February 2016. These new regulations will help reduce the suffering experienced by the tens of thousands of farm animals shipped overseas every year.
- AWI has worked toward strong animal welfare standards since the organic regulations were originally drafted in the 1990s. Thus, in April 2016, when the USDA proposed requirements for the welfare of animals raised under the Certified Organic label, AWI announced its general support of the proposed regulations. The regulations are based on the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an advisory body to the USDA’s organic program.
- AWI testified at a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hearing in June 2016, imploring it to vote against a black bear hunt due to concerns about the status of Florida’s black bear population. AWI stressed that there are many proven, nonlethal management options available to prevent bear-human conflicts. Following the testimony, the commission voted 4-3 to suspend black bear hunts this year while it gathered more information about bear populations in the state.
- AWI submitted comments to the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) regarding a proposed bobcat hunting and trapping season in the spring of 2016. JLCAR voted 9-1 in opposition to the proposal. In explaining its decision, the JLCAR made specific reference to concerns expressed by AWI regarding the potential Endangered Species Act violations.
- Accepting the argument of AWI and its co-plaintiffs, the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a preliminary injunction that orders the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop capturing and killing—and authorizing private landowners to capture and kill—members of the rapidly dwindling population of wild red wolves. The injunction was in response to the USFWS’ announcement in September 2016 that it would be reducing the range of the five-county red wolf recovery area and increasing the captive breeding population of red wolves, undermining decades of red wolf recovery and threatening the very survival of the species in the wild. In response to the USFWS decision, AWI and allies are redoubling our efforts to save the species, which now number less than 30 in the wild.
- In an agreement that settled a lawsuit brought by AWI and its coalition partners, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors agreed to perform a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and immediately suspend its contract with Wildlife Services, a controversial wildlife killing agency. The coalition is currently involved in a similar lawsuit against Monterey County in California, as part of our efforts to bring awareness to Wildlife Services’ killing of more than 3,000 coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and other animals in the county in the past six years, largely in the name of protecting livestock.
- AWI worked to ensure the passage of several important pieces of legislation to benefit animals, including the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act. The END Wildlife Trafficking Act is aimed at curbing the rampant illegal wildlife trade, which continues to decimate imperiled species facing unprecedented threats from poachers.