Who knew? The government uses our tax dollars to help the meat industry get more CPC (cash per carcass) in cruel and clandestine experiments at the 55-square mile U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. Even reporters who cover the livestock industry and animal research were shocked at the revelation of the government’s brazen and cruel service to private industry. The taxpayer largesse is especially shocking since the USDA also tells consumers to “Limit red meat” on its food pyramid page. According to the expose, even veterinarians and workers at the Research Center themselves were shocked at the ruthlessness toward animals which has characterized the Center from the start.
“You don’t have to be a vegan to be repulsed by an account in The Times revealing the moral depths to which the federal government — working as a handmaiden to industrial agriculture — has sunk in pursuit of cheaper meat and fatter corporate profits,” wrote the Times in a follow-up editorial.
Within days of the grisly report, more than 37,000 people signed a Care2 petition originated by the Animal Place to shut down the operation. “More than 6,500 animals have starved to death since the facility’s inception and a 11-17% mortality rate is considered acceptable,” says the petition.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) wrote, “”Such heinous examples of egregious cruelty, which would violate the minimum standards of any approved research protocol … should not occur anywhere for any reason.”
Many are hoping that the Aware Act sparked by the Times expose, which seeks to extend the federal Animal Welfare Act to food animals at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and other federal facilities will relieve some of the suffering behind closed doors. “As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we felt a responsibility to present a legislative fix that holds the U.S.D.A. to the same humane standards that countless research facilities across the country are held to,” wrote Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa) who sponsored the House version of the bill with Earl Blumenauer (D- OR).
Yet most animal welfare groups question the very existence of such a facility and the unholy relationship between government and industry the Research Center represents. Nor does the proposed legislation address the horrors of factory farms and animal research that animals endure daily at thousands of other locations.
This week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) notes that even as the Research Center’s barbaric practices were exposed, the USDA rolled out its new “Strategic Plan” which seeks “collaboration” with the laboratory, pet and entertainment industries, notorious for misuse and abuse of animals.
It is astounding that just a week after The New York Times‘ damning coverage of the government’s failure to enforce its own rules, the USDA would release a plan that embodies this same disregard for animal welfare,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the authorities to do the right thing and revise this plan immediately to better enforce the laws designed to protect animals.”
Whether a new law, a growing petition or PETA’s call for a revised USDA Strategic Plan, it is clear the US public knows abuse of animals when it sees it.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.