Recently, a long battle to protect wolves came to an end — with wolves as the winners, at least temporarily.
Despite the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)’s repeated attempts to reduce federal protections for gray wolves throughout the country, API and other wildlife advocates have won significant victories in the courts to ensure continued protections for the species.
On November 17, 2005, to the delight of animal advocates, the European Parliament rejected a proposed European Union (EU) Trapping Directive.
The Directive — which was opposed by groups such as the Fur Free Alliance, of which API is a member — would have codified into EU law standards for testing animal traps.
If accepted, the Directive would have done animals more harm than good by sanctioning standards that lack scientific merit and by legitimizing and entrenching the use of leghold and other cruel, body-gripping traps.
Government agents opened fire on the nesting birds. The birds panicked. Normally one or the other, if not both, parents would attend the nest, but with bullets slamming into some, others were forced to flee from what was, ironically, a bird sanctuary. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources had turned the “sanctuary” into a slaughterhouse.
Animal advocates in California can breathe a bit easier. Assembly Bill 87 (AB 87), which once threatened to undermine an existing state law that helped protect wildlife, has been modified. API worked actively to challenge this bill and reduce its potential harm to animals.
Across the United States, humans and other animals seem caught in what is literally a vicious circle: As human population and urban sprawl increases, so do conflicts between people and wildlife.
In the course of our everyday lives, we humans encounter other animals in a wide variety of settings and situations. We may view farmed animals in transport trucks on the highways, companion animals in “pet” shops, and captive exotic or wild animals used for entertainment or kept as “pets” in the residences of friends or neighbors. If we are fortunate, we may encounter wild animals when hiking or exploring at wildlife refuges or nature preserves.
It is both convenient and comforting to assume that specially-written laws protect the animals in each of these situations from harm. Unfortunately, however, such an assumption is misguided.
It was a drizzly day in early August 2004. A small but industrious group was gathered on Marsh Hill Road, an unpaved country byway in central Ontario, northeast of the city of Toronto. Now and then, the odd driver who used the road slowed to glance at the unusual sight of about a dozen people, parked cars, a camera crew, and paraphernalia strewn about, including metal mesh, power tools, hammers, wooden posts, and an axe. Those driving by may have seen several men in waders standing in the dark water alongside the road, framed by dense, alder swampland. They probably had little idea that they were witnessing a life-saving operation.
In the U.S., rabbits are classic icons of childhood innocence and mischief. Whether it’s the wise-cracking, carrot-munching Bugs Bunny; the treat-delivering Easter Bunny; sweet Thumper from Bambi; the sleepy young rabbit in Goodnight Moon; or Beatrix Potter’s beloved Peter Rabbit and friends, rabbits have long occupied a cherished place in our collective consciousness.
But while we shower adoration on make-believe bunnies, we too often heap terrible abuses on actual ones. A disturbing number of industries — including apparel, cosmetics, wildlife control, and the pet trade — exploit countless rabbits each and every year.