National lawmakers now introduced a bill to require much needed protections for farm animals employed at national facilities for agricultural research. The bill follows a New York Times article that revealed horrifying cases of animal cruelty in the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, a national livestock research facility in Nebraska.
Pigs, sheep, the cattle and other farm animals found in experiments in the facility are now exempt from protections under national law due to a loophole. This loophole exempts farm animals “used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for enhancing the standard of food or fiber” from fundamental welfare standards.
The Meat Animal Research Center is a portion of the Agricultural Research Service, a department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since 2006, almost $200 million has been spent by ARS on the centre, in accordance with a report prepared by the USDA included in the budgeting procedure.