Animal Writes
27 December 1998 Issue
Profile: The Animal Protection Institute

Founded in 1968, the Animal Protection Institute of America (API) is a national nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for the protection of animals from cruelty and exploitation. Headquartered in Sacramento, California, API has a number of regional representatives across the nation and the border, which currently includes representatives in Toronto, Chicago and San Antonio.

The animal protection movement has seen many changes since API's humble beginnings. API is proud of having been around before the majority of people were even aware of the most basic animal protection issues. Through the years we've been on the front lines of many animal protection issues by working to halt the killing of baby seals for their fur, the use of cruel devices like the steel-jaw leghold trap and the extermination of wild horses.

More recently, API's diverse national and regional programs include:

Our Pet Food Investigative Report exposed the disturbing fact that the meat in some pet foods is decayed, diseased, or contains harmful hormones. Preservatives, flavorings, food coloring, and deceptive labeling all help disguise ingredients unfit for consumption. This report helped bring necessary media scrutiny on the $10-billion-a-year pet food industry and an API staffer is the only animal advocate named as an official liaison to the oversight agency that issues guidelines for pet food labeling.

API has taken an active, vocal role in discouraging cross-species transplantation and the genetic alteration of animal species to provide a ready supply of animal organs for humans, which aside from ethical concerns has proven medically unsuccessful, and has a very real possibility of transmitting dangerous viruses to humans. API was asked to present our case at a conference held by the Food and Drug Administration in January 1998. These efforts, in part, delayed final government approval of xenotransplantation guidelines.

An API alert in June 1998 focused worldwide media attention on the dangers to wildlife posed by the Yoplait yogurt container, which has caused possibly thousands of wild animals to suffocate and die. These efforts forced Yoplait's manufacturer, General Mills, to meet with API representatives and begin a modification process that, if successful, will result in an improved "wildlife-friendly" design for their containers.

API investigated trapping of wildlife in our National Wildlife Refuge System. This produced a investigative article indicting the trapping activity on wildlife refuges and supported a grassroots group, Friends of Buddy, to secure "small but significant" changes in the Montana Fish & Game Commission State trapping regulations.

API and other groups filed a lawsuit which kept a program to kill 250 deer at a wildlife sanctuary at South Carolina's Hilton Head island from moving ahead. Other API legal efforts put a program to kill deer at the Gettysburg National Military Park on hold, as did a related lawsuit at Cuyahoga Valley National Recreational Area in Ohio.

API helped halt a planned U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) slaughter of 1500 Canada geese in Virginia. The court-issued temporary restraining order inspired the USDA to abandon a similar plan in Seattle that would have killed 400 Canada geese.

API was a leading member of the ProPAW (Protect Pets and Wildlife) coalition which helped place Proposition 4 on California's November 1998 ballot to ban traps, snares, and two extremely dangerous poisons which can indiscriminately kill dogs, cats and other animals. API was also active in ballot initiative/campaigns in six other U.S. states.

API initiated a pilot program with the California Department of Fish & Game and a Washington State wildlife sanctuary, which ensured the safe rehabilitation and return of three orphaned bear cubs to the wild. Most recently, in October, this resulted in the release of a young female named Topaz, near the California-Nevada border.

The untimely deaths of animals in the circus sparked billboards, newspaper ads, demonstrations, and a media blitz by an API-led coalition which helped focus public attention on circus cruelties toward animals during a summer tour of California by the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Animal groups in Colorado, New York and Florida have recently expressed interest in continuing the campaign.

API has also moved into cyber-space where our World Wide Web page was named one of the top five best animal advocacy sites. API's Internet site provides net users with a vast array of information and resources, on national and state legislation, the use of animals in science and research -- including a resource site with tools to help activists investigate animal experiments in their local areas -- as well as extensive areas that address the use of animals in entertainment, alternatives to dissection for students, and much more.

For more information about API please visit our website:

or contact us at:

Animal Protection Institute
P.O. Box 22505, Sacramento, CA 95822.
Phone: 916-731-5521

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