Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Other US Campaigns updates

Posted: 24 February 2017. Updated: 26 January 2018

US Congress

Animal Emergency Planning Act

ADI supports the Animal Emergency Planning Act (HR3792 [add link]), a bipartisan bill to require animal exhibitors to develop and implement emergency contingency plans, introduced after several 2017 storms, including Hurricane Irma, where the Miami Seaquarium left its animals, including Lolita, to fend for themselves in the Category 4-5 hurricane.

US contacts to support the Animal Emergency Planning Act (HR3792).

Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act

ADI supports the Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act (S503), which seeks to require the USDA to make publicly available certain regulatory records relating to the administration of the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the use of an alternative depreciation system for taxpayers violating rules under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, among other purposes. Early in 2017, the USDA scrubbed its website, removing records on animal exhibitors and violations that were previously publicly available, further sheltering violators and potential violators from oversight and accountability. These records are crucial to ADI’s work, and to all those who monitor and advocate against animal cruelty.

US contacts to support the Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act.

Big Cat Public Safety Act

ADI supports the Big Cat Public Safety Act (HR1818), a bipartisan bill to prohibit the private possession and breeding of lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, and their hybrids. In 20 years, there have reportedly been 22 human deaths, 144 cat deaths, 248 maulings, and 260 escapes related to these species. Captive breeding negatively impacts wild populations. ADI also submitted comments to the USDA, citing longstanding enforcement issues and supporting a similar petition to prohibit public contact with bears, nonhuman primates, and big cats.

US contacts to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (HR1818).

HR224 to permit import of polar bear hunting trophies into the US

ADI strongly opposes the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act (HR224), which would permit the import of polar bear sport hunted trophies into the US. Polar bears are facing increasing threats - they need protection to survive potential extinction in our lifetimes.
US contacts to oppose HR224.
Find out more about ADI conservation campaigns.

HR226 to permit certain trade of ivory and elephant trophies into the US

ADI strongly opposes the African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act (HR226), which would permit certain ivory trade and the import of elephant sport hunted trophies in the US. Elephants are facing catastrophic threats - they need protection to survive potential extinction in our lifetimes.
US contacts to oppose HR226.
Find out more about ADI conservation campaigns.

HRes244 urging Japan to end whaling

ADI supports the HRes 244, which urges Japan to end whaling in all forms, and seeks to strengthen measures to conserve whale populations.
US contacts to support HRes244.

HRes30 and HRes401 calling for an end to the dog and cat meat trade, condemning the Yulin Dog Meat Festival
ADI supports HRes30 and HRes401, which call for an end to the dog and cat meat trade, and condemn the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
US contacts to support HRes30 and HRes401.

Humane Cosmetics Act

ADI supports the Humane Cosmetics Act (HR2790), a bipartisan bill to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. ADI worked with the NAVS for decades on the successful EU cosmetics ban. HR2790 enjoys bipartisan support, with 140 cosponsors currently. Let’s bring the US in line with public opinion and 30 countries who’ve banned cruel and needless testing.

US contacts to support the Humane Cosmetics Act (HR2790).

Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act of 2017

ADI supports the ORCA Act (HR1584), which seeks to prohibit the taking, import, and export of orcas and orca products for public display, and to prohibit breeding for exhibition. Orcas swim >100 miles/day, easily diving >600feet – they belong in the wild, not a tiny tank. ADI applauds California passing Senator Bloom’s state version in 2016!

US contacts to support the ORCA Act.

Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act
ADI supports the Public Safety and Wildlife Act (HR1629) which seeks to restrict the use of steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps on animals in the United States.
US contacts to support the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act.

ADI supports the PUPPERS Act (HR3197), a bipartisan bill to prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from conducting medical research causing “significant pain or distress” to dogs
US contacts to support the PUPPERS Act (HR3197).

SAVES Act, HR2603
The misleadingly entitled “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” (SAVES Act, HR2603) seeks to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for all species not native to the US. This would include elephants, tigers, lions, chimpanzees, parrots, macaws and other nonnative animals in captivity and, where introduced by humans, the wild. HR2603, which is making its way through the US house, contradicts widespread public opinion to protect threatened species and judicial precedent extending ESA protections to captive individuals (with exceptions).
US contacts to oppose HR2603.


ADI supports the WILD Act (S826), which seeks to support certain programs, funding, and prize competitions to aid in the prevention of wildlife poaching and trafficking, wildlife conservation, the management of invasive species, the protection of endangered species, and non-lethal management of human-wildlife conflicts. The WILD Act passed the Senate June 8, 2017, and now moves to the US House!

US contacts to support the WILD Act.

Bills threatening endangered species and wildlife protections

ADI opposes the various bills introduced to limit, end, or otherwise lessen the effectiveness and/or authority of the Endangered Species Act and/or the Environmental Protection Agency, including HR958, S376/HR1273, S935/HR2134, and HR861, among others. Species are facing increasing threats - we can’t turn away from necessary Endangered Species Act protections.

ADI strongly opposes US S.1863, misnamed the ‘Native Species Protection Act’; it removes Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for all species that don’t cross state lines, which is most of the species currently listed. Most Americans support ESA’s wildlife protections, which passed during the Nixon administration with overwhelming bipartisan support, declaring “that all Federal departments and agencies shall seek to conserve endangered species and threatened species and shall utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this Act."

US contacts to support Environmental Protection Agency and Endangered Species Act protections, and to oppose HR958, S376/ HR1273, S935/HR2134, and HR861.

Find out more about ADI conservation campaigns.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA - Proposed rule making to address rubber stamp license renewal process

In 2017, ADI responded to USDA’s call for comments on its animal exhibitor licensure renewal process. Remarkably, USDA does not now evaluate or require current compliance with the law before renewing an animal exhibitor’s license. The practice has permitted longstanding violators to continue operations even where USDA may have cited the exhibitor repeatedly. Courts have upheld USDA’s practice, citing longstanding judicial deference to agencies implementing their statutory requirements, though one judge recently called out the agency turning a blind eye to known violations, holding that “[r]eliance on facts that an agency knows are false at the time it relies on them is the essence of arbitrary and capricious decisionmaking.”
 After years of rubberstamp renewals, USDA will finally evaluate whether their longtime practice is actually prudent.

ADI comments urging USDA to draft rules to: (a) require licensees’ compliance with the Animal Welfare Act BEFORE issuing a renewal, and (b) streamline termination process to address longstanding, repeated violations which, currently, can go on for years, even decades.

Petition to ban public contact with big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates.

In 2016, the 50th anniversary of the Animal Welfare Act, ADI submitted comments citing longstanding enforcement issues and supporting a petition to prohibit public contact with bears, nonhuman primates, and big cats. Wild animals are inherently unsuitable for public contact.

US contacts to urge an update to the 50-year-old Animal Welfare Act and a comprehensive assessment to address chronic enforcement issues.

USDA - Marine Mammal proposed rule making ignores current evidence

In 2016, despite mounting evidence, proposed USDA rulemaking for marine mammals provided no species prohibitions or increased space requirements (which haven’t changed since 1984). Citing industry “burden,” certain proposals lessen requirements and allow longer interactive (swim-with-dolphin) programs, despite their impact.

Read ADI’s comments here and our joint submission with Animal Welfare Institute and twelve other welfare organizations here.

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

International Wildlife Conservation Council to promote trophy hunting; USFWS considers lion and elephant trophy imports

In November 2017, ADI submitted comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) opposing the establishment of a proposed “International Wildlife Conservation Council” to “increase[e] public awareness domestically regarding the conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits” of trophy hunting. The proposed council would advise the federal government, through Interior Secretary Zinke, on the alleged “benefits international hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs, and other ways in which international hunting benefits human populations.” This inquiry proceeds and centers itself upon a preconceived, unproven premise; the question itself has the bias built in, and so is a failure of scientific analysis.

Killing is not conservation. The US is the world’s largest trophy importer. In 2013, Economists at Large reported “hunting companies contribute only 3% of their revenue to communities living in hunting areas.” The evidence shows the claimed financial benefits of trophy hunting to local communities are largely exaggerated, and bear little actual connection to conservation, whereas eco-tourism was found to generate substantial economic benefit in direct earnings, > 15 times that for game farming and trophy hunting.

Trophy hunting is a very small part of the tourism industry in most countries. Overall trophy hunting accounts for less than 2% of tourism revenues. Even this seems an overstatement – several figures above, including the outlier figure of Botswana are based on unpublished sources

As a portion of any national economy, trophy hunting is completely insignificant, with revenue never accounting for more than 0.27% of GDP (Namibia). Authors such as Barnett and Patterson (2006) who claim trophy hunting can account for several percent of GDP are misguided.

trophy hunting revenues fail to reach rural communities. Any suggestion that trophy hunting can play a significant role in economic development at a wider scale is completely implausible when the industry is considered in the context of national economic activity.[i]

The argument for pay-to-slay permitting, or killing as conservation, is stymied by its utter failure, despite a longstanding history, to stem the staggering decline of numerous species over the last century. By contrast, sustainable, non-consumptive tourism provides local communities lasting economic benefit and incentivizes wildlife conservation.

What has been shown however, is the potential link between trophy hunting and wildlife trafficking. Trophy hunting provides avenues and cover for illicit trafficking; for example, lion bone trade is on the rise, as skeletons obtained via canned hunting operations have stirred market demand, with related spikes in poaching of both wild and captive lion populations. A 2016 US House report also identified negative impacts of trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa, finding “many troubling examples of funds either being diverted from their purpose or not being dedicated to conservation in the first place,” and “no merit to claims that hunting deters poaching.” Shockingly, taxpayers cover “92% of all permit fees,” “subsidizing” trophy hunting, despite its typically affluent participants. The 2016 report called for increased oversight, citing US responsibility given its premier role in imports, and described problematic permitting as “arbitrary, confusing, and not based on sound science,” which relied upon data provided by biased parties (i.e. Safari Club International).

2017 ADI submission to USFWS opposing trophy hunting council

2017 NGO letter refuting canned lion hunting conservation claims

2016 US House report

Update: 39 US legislators, including TEAPSPA sponsor Rep. Raul Grijalva, have joined ADI and other groups to oppose the International Wildlife Conservation Council. Read their letter here.

For more on ADI’s conservation work:

US reinstitutes horrid hunting practices

In 2016, ADI commented in support of proposed USFWS rulemaking to reign in Alaskan predator hunting practices, including trapping, aerial hunting, and the killing of hibernating bears and denning wolves. ADI underscored its opposition to hunting, trapping, baiting, snaring, or killing of any animal, noting the cruelty of such practices and the import of natural predator-prey relationships. Unfortunately, the US recently passed and signed into law a reversal of the new USFWS rule, and so these horrid hunting practices will begin again.

US contacts to oppose these practices.

USFWS – CoP17 proposals

In 2016, during and in preparation for CoP17, ADI urged the US to consider increased listing protections for lions, elephants, panthers; to address rampant ivory, rhino horn, and tiger and lion bone trade, as well as the particularly US contribution of trophy hunting upon wild populations. The evidence shows trophy hunting’s claimed benefits are inflated, bear little connection to actual conservation, and don’t come close to those derived through non-consumptive tourism, which provides local communities lasting economic benefit and incentivizes conservation.

Find ADI submissions to USFWS on these matters here.

Find out more about ADI conservation campaigns.

USFWS - approved import and sale of 18 wild African elephants to US zoos

USFWS failed 18 wild elephants by permitting their capture and import to US zoos, citing Swaziland’s threat to otherwise kill the elephants. ADI joined numerous scientists, conservationists, and welfare and policy experts against the unethical strong arm permit approvals and dubious claims of “overpopulation” threatening other species. No serious efforts were made to keep the elephants in Africa where they belong. They deserved better. In June 2017, a prominent US District Court, while approving USFWS discretion, which allowed yet another export and sale of endangered animals - this time retired laboratory chimps to zoos in the UK - despite widespread condemnation and offers of sanctuary, openly chastised the USFWS’ pay-to-play practices as contrary to the central tenants of the Endangered Species Act. Legislative action is required.

US contacts to oppose these practices.

Say no to US lion & elephant trophies

Last year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reversed policy to permit lion and elephant trophy imports from certain African countries. A public outcry ensued, and the US President called for a pause on elephant trophy imports, tweeting he’d “be very hard pressed to change [his] mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal”; he hasn’t weighed in again since. A US federal court ruled USFWS has the authority to make “holistic inquiry” regarding trophy hunting’s impact on species’ survival, but that such decisions require public notice and comment. USFWS hasn’t rescinded its 2017 decisions to permit trophy imports, which were made without public notice or comment. Official US policy remains in limbo.

Most Americans (~86%) oppose big game hunting, including 34% of US hunters. Conservation experts, scientific evidence, and investigations demonstrate trophy hunting harms wild populations, stimulating demand and providing cover to nefarious traders to launder illegal products, make use of legal trade routes, and even portray themselves as trophy hunters to cover and enable illicit trade.


2017 Group NGO letter refuting SAPA canned lion hunting conservation claims.

2017 ADI submission to USFWS opposing trophy hunting council.

Other US campaigns

Monkey controversy continues in Florida.

ADI’s investigation into monkey breeding and supply company, Biodia in Mauritius and Spain led a trail to Hendry County, Florida, where the notorious monkey supplier plans to send thousands of monkeys to a facility to supply the US primate laboratories. Other area monkey breeding farms face lawsuits challenging the expansion of monkey breeding there, and the process permitting such action. Hendry County is now an epicenter for US primate breeding, despite opposition. ADI has reached out to state and national legislators, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Hendry County Commissioners, the city of LaBelle, and stakeholders in opposition to this cruel industry.

Elsewhere in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is once again considering an eradication plan - despite prior failures of similar action - to ‘decrease the population’ of monkeys living in the wild there, since a tour boat operator first released six macaques decades ago.

See more on the investigation and the campaign to end monkey suffering

Read more about ADI’s investigation of the Mauritian primate trade & find out how you can take action

Oppose monkey breeding and wild monkey eradication plans in Florida

Tiger suffering in an aquarium in Houston, Texas

ADI is working with local campaigners to oppose the keeping of several white tigers in bare concrete cells at the Houston Aquarium. Unlike wild tigers whose home ranges approach 300 square miles, these tigers never go outside. White tigers are inbred and can suffer abnormal, debilitating, even lethal conditions.

Stand up for tigers in Texas:
Houston Aquarium: (713) 223-3474
 Email Landry’s Restaurants (which owns and operates the aquarium)
(800) 552-6379 or (713) 850-1010

© Animal Defenders International 2018