Following the publication of a lengthy New York Times investigation of the taxpayer-funded U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, during which researchers discovered multiple incidences of animal mistreatment and experimental surgery conducted without medical degrees, the United States Department of Agriculture has ordered the institution to strengthen its internal oversight, reports the New York Times.
Until the facility strengthens its safety and welfare measures, employees will not be permitted to begin “any new experimental projects.”Earlier experiments, according to the Times investigations, included the “retooling” of cows and pigs to carry multiple offspring, resulting in numerous newborns being crushed to death because they were “too frail or crowded to move.”
Nonetheless, the federal investigation that followed the initial Times inquiry somehow found that, although the center “was not adequately fulfilling its intended role” of making sure to minimize animal suffering, there was no evidence of animal mistreatment. According to the investigative committee’s findings, “Without exception, the panel observed healthy and well cared for animals.”
The Agriculture Department has yet to address the nature of experiments conducted, which includes the pursuit of “easy care” sheep that are left in open fields to fend for themselves at birth, as well as measures to produce leaner pork loins and steak that is easy to chew.
Thus far, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, has recommended a number of steps to strengthen the research center’s review panel. Public comments on the report will be accepted through March 18.