The issue of animal testing is a hot one, but what's going on here is stunning by any measure. And we're funding it.
Trigger warning: This post describes animal mistreatment, and the video below contains descriptions and scenes some may find disturbing.
50 years ago, Congress decided to bring together all of the agriculture research conducted by the Department of Agriculture.
Congress created the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, or USMARC.
USMARC's work is about keeping the meat industry in the game as sales shift to poultry, fish, and produce. This little-known complex outside Clay Center, Nebraska, does help to check the spread of livestock diseases and promote food safety standards. But many of its efforts involve finding new ways to make beef, pork, and lamb cheaper to produce and taste better.
Some of USMARC's experiments have been revealed as shockingly brutal.
The landmark Animal Welfare Act passed by Congress in 1966 protects the rights of animals to some extent. It's an important law for people who care about animals. But there's a giant loophole in the Animal Welfare Act: It doesn't apply to farm animals raised for food. They're on their own. And it's this giant loophole that makes USMARC's horrifying experiments legal. The Department of Agriculture hasn't seemed interested in policing USMARC, and so it does what it wants.