Subject: 1997 Tough Year For Animals In (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 10:43:12 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu,  1 Jan 98 22:47:00 GMT 
Subject: 1997 Tough Year For Animals In

1997 Tough Year For Animals Internationally; Better News In The U.S.

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Elephants, whales and dolphins
took hits in the international arena this year while some animals in
the U.S. received legal protection, reports the Humane Society of the
United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization.
    "Strides were made for animals in 1997," said HSUS President Paul
G. Irwin. "There is a steadily building body of state law that
provides legal safeguards for animals from abuse, neglect, and
cruelty. The U.S. is becoming safer for animals as more state
legislatures respond to citizens' interest in protecting animals."

    Participants at the Convention on the International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in June reduced
international protections for African elephants by downlisting
elephant populations of three southern African countries from
Appendix I to Appendix II allowing a regulated trade in elephant
ivory and other elephant products.
    Although whale advocates at the 49th annual International Whaling
Conference in Monaco blocked the most harmful proposals to liberalize
the killing of whales, Japan and Norway will continue to engage in
commercial whaling activities. Left in doubt was a proposal advanced
by the U.S. to allow the Makah tribe in Washington state to kill four
gray whales even though whale killing has not been practiced by the
Makah in more than 70 years. Among the victories at the conference
was a hard-won agreement by Japan to halt the use of the cruel
electric lance.
    Elephants in South Africa's Kruger National Park were saved from
slaughter as a new elephant immunocontraception and research program
progressed in 1997. With human encroachment imminent, over 300
elephants were contracepted to stabilize the elephant population at

    Though the U.S. Senate passed a similar amendment, the House of
Representatives failed to approve an amendment to the Foreign
Operations Appropriations bill that would have barred taxpayer
dollars from going to directly support or promote trophy hunting of
African elephants or international trade in ivory or rhino horn. An
HSUS poll, conducted by Penn+Schoen, found that more than 84% of
Americans oppose elephant trophy hunting and the ivory trade.
    The U.S. Senate voted in favor of a "compromise" measure on tuna
import laws. The legislation gave commercial tuna fishermen who chase
and harass dolphins immediate access to the U.S. tuna market and
offers the prospect of a change in "dolphin-safe" label standards in
the United States in less than two years. The "compromise" called for
the Commerce Department to study the effects of chasing dolphins and
encircling them with nets to catch the tuna that swim below. If by
March 1999 researchers find that encircling dolphins has not caused a
"significant adverse impact" on dolphin populations, the tuna caught
by this method could be sold under the "dolphin safe" label. But HSUS
Marine Mammal Scientist Naomi Rose, Ph.D. says that three years would
be the minimum amount of time needed to detect a population trend.

    In April an HSUS investigation revealed regulations designed to
protect sea turtles were being ignored by Texas shrimpers. The
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) responded to the announcement
of findings with stepped up monitoring of the use of turtle saving
    Also in April NASA agreed to end its primate research on the Bion
12 mission. The HSUS and other animal protection groups had charged
that proposed experiments were cruel, repetitive and unnecessary.
    Animal protection organizations had their most impressive
victories at the state level during 1997.  Over forty state laws were
enacted to provide new or stronger protection for animals. Seventeen
states passed significant legislation favorable to animals.  Ten
states (TX, RI, CO, NJ, NY, LA, MS, OR, NY, NE) changed their statutes
to allow for stronger penalties or more effective enforcement of basic
animal cruelty statues. Two states (NC, CA) strengthened their animal
fighting laws. Two new states passed lemon laws (AZ, PA) that provide
anyone who purchases a sick animal be reimbursed for a portion of the
veterinarian bills. The new laws encourage retail stores to buy
healthy animals thereby reducing the sale of dogs from substandard
puppy-mills.  Humane euthanasia of nuisance wildlife legislation
passed in Connecticut. Keeping wild animals in captivity will be much
more closely regulated under a new Mississippi law.  Thanks to a new
law, Oklahoma animal shelters no longer have to turn animals over for
research purposes. A constitutional right to hunt and fish in
Minnesota failed to pass. A bill to allow the inhumane killing of
snapping turtles was vetoed by Maryland's governor and a substantial
government subsidy to theracing industry was defeated in Oregon.
    Students in Maryland and Rhode Island were given greater
opportunities to learn without having to dissect animals thanks to
two new state laws. In addition to the new laws, efforts to end
painful experimentation on live animals in microbiology labs at Ohio
State University paid off. Rabbits that had been scheduled for harmful
injections, slow bleeding and death were spared. The lab project that
used the rabbits was eliminated after pressure to use humane
alternatives was accepted.
    Two more states -Texas and Connecticut -- created special license
plates to enhance public awareness of animal issues in 1997, bringing
the total number of state animal license plate programs to six.  A
similar license plate program, which began in 1996, has netted New
York State almost $1 million in revenues.
    In September, The HSUS released study results showing that almost
one third of animal cruelty incidents reviewed also involved violent
crimesagainst people. Those findings heduled for slaughter by the state
of Minnesota because they were considered "nuisance animals" were
rescued and relocated to Oklahoma. The HSUS successfully sued the
state and an eight-member HSUS team oversaw their relocation to a
Choctaw Indian reservation in Oklahoma.
    The USDA revoked the license of King Royal Circus in December and
levied a $200,000 fine after Africangovernment-sanctioned deer kills took place
across the country in
mistaken attempts to 'control' deer as the human population rapidly
encroaches on wildlife habitat.
    A cat killing spree in March brought the little town of Fairfield,
Iowa, into the national spotlight in November and December when two
men were convicted of breaking into an animal shelter and bludgeoning
23 cats and kittens with baseball bats. Sixteen cats died in the
attack. Two assailants were sentenced to four years in the state
penitentiary and 23 days in county jail.  The four year prison
sentence was suspended by Judge Daniel P. Wilson pending the young
men's successful completion of three years probation that includes
mandatory psychological counseling and participation in a youthful
offenders program. Iowa state legislators will consider a new felony
animal-cruelty law in 1998.