The OC bimonthly newsBRIEF (Aug-Sept 2017)

It has come to our attention that the annual reports we submit to the OC member societies are not effective at helping society leadership and members to understand what the OC does. Therefore, we are shifting to this bi-monthly e-mail report and we promise – it will be BRIEF. We will omit all but the most essential information and ask that those who have questions contact us.

In this time period, the Ornithological Council:

  1. Submitted letters of support for Christine Lattin, Ph.D, a post-doc at Yale and AOS grantee, who is being harassed by PETA. That organization is attempting to persuade her funders to terminate funding. The OC letters were submitted to Yale, the Life Sciences Resource Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Another letter was sent to the Massachusetts District Attorney, offering to organize an independent expert review should that office decide to act on the complaint filed by PETA.
  2. Re-filed a petition to the USFWS to suspend or revoke the requirement for “validation” of CITES permits at the time of export. The original petition was filed in 2014 and was to have been addressed in a regulatory update in 2017. The Administration canceled that regulatory update so the petition has been amended and re-filed. The OC also wrote directly to the White House Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and to the Secretary of the Interior, asking that the USFWS be directed to respond to the petition in a timely manner.
  3. Filed a petition to Customs and Border Protection, seeking a “binding ruling” that hand-carried specimens and samples are not subject to the “formal entry” requirements that are expensive and burdensome for ornithologists.
  4. Met with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service associate director to discuss the development of “guidance” by that agency, pertaining to key issues in animal welfare, without discussion with the regulated community (wildlife biologists) or consultation with experts. That led to a meeting with agency staff who agreed to refrain from issuing guidance on the term “field study” without first consulting experts and the regulated community. That discussion is ongoing.
  5. Asked the American Veterinary Medical Association to reclassify rapid cardiac compression as acceptable or acceptable with conditions. The study that is the scientific foundation for this request was funded by the AOS. The letter was reviewed by several research veterinarians.
  6. Drafted a letter to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior regarding the legality of drone use; sent out for peer review to David Bird and other ornithologists and colleagues in The Wildlife Society.
  7. Drafted an addendum to Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research regarding drone use; sent out for peer review.
  8. Continued work with USDA’s research program and import-export program to encourage the reduction or complete removal of pre-import treatment requirements for avian research material.
  9. Asked the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Dept of the Interior Office of Policy, Management, and Budget to re-instate the regulatory processes for the conservation education permits (which included citizen salvage) and CITES (which includes the OC petition to suspend or eliminate a problematic import requirement)
  10. Consulted with the USFWS Division of Management Authority and the Jamaican National Environmental Protection Agency regarding the Jamaican law pertaining to export of avian specimens and samples that conflicts with CITES and U.S. law and procedure.
  11. Completed and submitted a third set of comments on proposed regulatory changes for permits issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (after consultation with ornithologists who work in California).
  12. Prepared for three panel presentations and three break-out group discussions for the 2017 conference of the Scientists’ Center for Animal Welfare titled Meeting the Challenges of IACUC Oversight in Fish and Wildlife Research. The conference will be held in San Diego in late October.
  13. Assisted 11 individuals with permit questions/problems (names omitted; they appear in the reports submitted to society leadership).
  14. Assisted two individuals with IACUC/animal welfare questions/problems ((names omitted; they appear in the reports submitted to society leadership).

Ellen Paul
Executive Director
Ornithological Council
Providing Scientific Information about Birds

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