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Public Outrage over Taxpayer-Funded USDA Animal Abuse

PHOTO: Taxpayer-funded farm animal abuse is at the center of public outrage, and an investigation regarding what has been happening at a USDA Meat Research Center in Nebraska. Photo credit: Farm Sanctuary.
PHOTO: Taxpayer-funded farm animal abuse is at the center of public outrage, and an investigation regarding what has been happening at a USDA Meat Research Center in Nebraska. Photo credit: Farm Sanctuary.
January 27, 2015

LOS ANGELES - An undercover investigation by a New York Times reporter at a USDA Meat Research Center in Nebraska has sparked outrage from animal welfare groups and the public, with thousands now calling on Congress to shut the research program down.

Bruce Friedrich, director of advocacy and policy for the New York and California-based non-proft Farm Sanctuary, recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in response to the New York Times investigation. He uncovered the abuse of thousands of farm animals, and what he describes as cruel breeding practices and maternal-deprivation techniques.

"All of this happened with millions and millions of dollars annually from taxpayers," he says. "All of it was designed to basically add to the profit margins of the meat industry."

According to the New York Times article, experiments have been conducted for decades in order to develop animals that give birth to more babies and produce more fat, and also less-fatty meat. Surgical procedures are also performed at the lab by individuals who are not licensed veterinarians or doctors.

"The stuff that's happening in this lab, if it happened anywhere other than a lab, it would warrant felony cruelty to animals charges," says Friedrich.

According to a report by Reuters, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has ordered an investigation into the matter.

Several online petitions are calling on the USDA and Congress to discontinue funding the experiments on farm animals, arguing they serve only as a benefit to the meat industry.

Friedrich cites one example of a young female cow whose head was locked in a cage-like device to keep her immobile and was then mounted by several bulls for hours until her back legs were broken and she died from her injuries. Federal law exempts agricultural research animals from protections offered to other lab animals through The Animal Welfare Act.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - CA