Non-profit

Animal Welfare Institute

Website:

awionline.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

13-5655952

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $4,934,276
Expenses: $3,580,370
Assets: $14,880,796

Formation:

1951

President:

Cathy Liss

Compensation (2018):

$110,148 [23]

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is an advocacy organization that promotes an expansive view of “animal welfare” that would eliminate many common farming, hunting, and fishing practices, in addition to other commercial uses of animals in entertainment and scientific research. [1] The AWI actively promotes legislation to achieve these goals through its lobbying arm, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation [2]

History

Animal Welfare Institute was founded in 1951 to oppose the use of animals in scientific testing. [3] Its mission has expanded to promote an expansive view of animal welfare that seeks to limit commercial use of animals to activities that do not cause suffering to animals. Its proposed policies would limit or eliminate many common farming, hunting and fishing practices, among other significant changes. [4]

AWI’s founder and long-time president Christine Stevens was the wife of Roger L. Stevens, a wealthy and politically connected real estate developer and Broadway producer who was active in the Democratic Party. [5] He was the first chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the first chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and was the Democratic Party’s finance chairman during the 1956 presidential election. [6]

When Roger Stevens and a consortium of other investors purchased the Empire State Building, AWI received a rent-free office in the building for its headquarters. [7]

The AWI moved its headquarters to Washington, DC in 1972.

Policy Priorities

The AWI promotes a broad range of policy priorities related to its views on animal liberation and appropriate treatment. [8]

One outlier area of policy advocacy is the organization’s opposition to free international trade in goods and services of all kinds. [9]

Animal Use in Scientific Research

Animal Welfare Institute was originally founded to oppose the use of animals in scientific research. [10] It has continued to promote legislation that limits researchers to experiments in which animals’ “pain, physical discomfort, maladaptive behaviors, fear and anxiety are prevented or, at least minimized.” [11]

The AWI has been criticized for promoting disclosure practices in scientific research in the name of protecting animal welfare that violate the individual privacy rights of researchers, laboratory employees, and other individuals and potentially leave them open to harassment by militant animal liberation extremists. [12]

Common Farming Practices

AWI’s proposed changes to common farming practices would have the practical effect of eliminating industrialized farming, as practiced widely in the United States. [13] The organization acknowledges this, saying that it seeks to “Abolish factory farms, support high-welfare family farms, and achieve humane slaughter for animals raised for food.” [14]

The AWI uses litigation as a tactic to promote its policy preferences, suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other regulatory agencies in an effort to promote an expansive view of regulatory authority over farmers and animals. [15]

Opposition to Circuses and Aquariums

The AWI opposes the use of “exotic” animals in traveling circuses and supported proposed legislation by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that would have created a federal ban on traditional circus animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants in traveling shows. [16]

The organization has opposed American aquariums’ importation of whales and other marine mammals that were born in captivity because they would be “allowed to breed” and perpetuate populations of whales in aquariums. [17]

Regulation of Family Pets

Animal Welfare Institute promotes policies that would interfere with many long-standing practices of pet owners and give police and regulatory agencies new authority over the relationship between Americans and their pets. For instance, AWI works to criminalize the long-standing practice of restraining pets in a yard through a chain or tether. [18]

It also promotes including pets in personal protective orders issued by judges against potentially violent domestic abusers, placing pets at the same effective level of protection as spouses and children. [19]

Trapping and Hunting

Animal Welfare Institute opposes many traditional methods of game management, including common trapping methods for nuisance animals and permitting hunting as a method of managing game species populations. [20]

Whaling

In 1971, Animal Welfare Institute was among the organizations involved in launching the “Save-the-Whales” campaign that brought public attention to commercial whaling practices of the time. [21] The AWI continues to oppose all whaling, including by indigenous peoples who depend on whaling for food and other needs in a subsistence environment. [22]

People

Cathy Liss has worked for Animal Welfare Institute since 1983 and is the current president of the organization, having previously been its executive director and a senior research associate. Liss has been vocal in criticizing what she claims to be the USDA’s improper enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act under the Trump administration.

Dena Jones is director of AWI’s Farm Animal Program. She is a former programs director at World Animal Protection, a former public policy consultant for the vegan organization Farm Sanctuary, and a former program director for Animal Protection Institute.

Bethany Cotton is the director of the Terrestrial Wildlife Program at AWI, the former wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, and a former attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Christine Stevens founded the Animal Welfare Institute in 1951 and was its president until her death in 2002. Stevens formed the Society for Animal Protective Legislation in 1955, so that AMI could lobby on behalf of animal-rights legislation. Stevens favored lobbying over confrontational tactics, and regularly spoke before Congress.

Joanna Grossman is the Equine Program Manager, and a Senior Advisor at AWI. Grossman is a former senior policy specialist at the Good Food Institute, a lobbying organization for plant-based meat substitutes.

Kate Dylewsky is the Senior Policy Advisor for AWI. Dylewsky is formerly a Program Associate at Born Free USA, a Government Relations Intern for the ASPCA, and intern for Environment America. Dylewsky lobbies for the Society for Animal Protective Legislation in support of bills such as the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, and the Captive Primate Safety Act.

Nadia Adawi has been the Executive Director and General Counsel for AWI since 2017. Adawi is a former Public Interest Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute, former intern at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and was the founder and CEO of BlackGold Biofuels, a now defunct waste oil recycling company.

References

  1. “Who We Are.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/who-we-are. ^
  2. “Laws for Paws Speakers.” Texas Humane Legislation Network, 2019. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://www.thln.org/laws_for_paws_speakers. ^
  3. “Who We Are.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/who-we-are. ^
  4. “Who We Are.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/who-we-are. ^
  5. Pace, Eric. “Roger L. Stevens, Real Estate Magnate, Producer and Fund-Raiser, Is Dead at 87.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 4, 1998. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/04/arts/roger-l-stevens-real-estate-magnate-producer-and-fund-raiser-is-dead-at-87.html. ^
  6. Pace, Eric. “Roger L. Stevens, Real Estate Magnate, Producer and Fund-Raiser, Is Dead at 87.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 4, 1998. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/04/arts/roger-l-stevens-real-estate-magnate-producer-and-fund-raiser-is-dead-at-87.html. ^
  7. Saxon, Wolfgang. “Christine Stevens, 84, A Friend to the Animals.” The New York Times, October 15, 2002. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/15/us/christine-stevens-84-a-friend-to-the-animals.html. ^
  8. “How to Communicate Effectively with Legislators.” Animal Welfare Institute, 2019. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/how-communicate-effectively-legislators. ^
  9. “‘Free’ Trade.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/free-trade. ^
  10. “Who We Are.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/who-we-are. ^
  11. “AWI Policy.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/awi-policy. ^
  12. Wadman, Meredith. “Activists Battle U.S. Government in Court over Making Animal Welfare Reports Public.” Science, December 8, 2017. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/activists-battle-us-government-court-over-making-animal-welfare-reports-public. ^
  13. “Farm Animal Policy Efforts.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/farm-animal-policy-efforts. ^
  14. “Who We Are.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/who-we-are. ^
  15. “Animal Protection Groups Sue Perdue, USDA Over Slaughter of Sick, Injured Pigs.” Animal Welfare Institute, February 6, 2020. https://awionline.org/press-releases/animal-protection-groups-sue-perdue-usda-over-slaughter-sick-injured-pigs. ^
  16. “Senator Menendez Introduces Bill to End Exploitation of Exotic Animals in the Circus.” Animal Welfare Institute, July 15, 2019. https://awionline.org/press-releases/senator-menendez-introduces-bill-end-exploitation-exotic-animals-circus. ^
  17. “Mystic Aquarium Does Not Need to Import Belugas to Conduct Research.” Animal Welfare Institute, November 14, 2019. https://awionline.org/press-releases/mystic-aquarium-does-not-need-import-belugas-conduct-research. ^
  18. “Animal Chaining.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/animal-chaining. ^
  19. “Companion Animals.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/companion-animals. ^
  20. “Trapping and Penning.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/trapping-and-penning. ^
  21. Saxon, Wolfgang. “Christine Stevens, 84, A Friend to the Animals.” The New York Times, October 15, 2002. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/15/us/christine-stevens-84-a-friend-to-the-animals.html. ^
  22. “Whaling.” Animal Welfare Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://awionline.org/content/whaling. ^
  23. Animal Welfare Institute, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part VII, Section A, Line 1D ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Protect NEPA
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1953

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Jun Form 990 $4,934,276 $3,580,370 $14,880,796 $70,353 N $4,400,711 $0 $110,246 $218,146 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $4,404,128 $2,737,309 $13,387,912 $20,468 N $3,955,687 $0 $96,530 $163,945 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $3,838,552 $3,054,868 $11,433,837 $16,718 N $3,278,306 $0 $153,716 $209,055 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $3,426,745 $3,727,886 $11,001,730 $41,252 N $2,637,775 $0 $154,480 $186,298 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $5,327,638 $9,059,226 $11,907,191 $62,176 N $4,316,547 $0 $188,630 $185,438 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $5,958,420 $4,832,908 $15,186,391 $34,620 N $5,456,563 $0 $205,432 $160,437 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $3,627,142 $4,794,099 $13,619,470 $81,074 N $3,388,254 $0 $142,789 $166,075 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Animal Welfare Institute

    900 PENNSYLVANIA AVE SE
    WASHINGTON, DC 20003-2140