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.
They've been engineering pig reproduction. The center has been operating on pigs' ovaries and brains to make the pigs more fertile. Scientists who aren't surgeons operate on the animals. Sows now produce up to 14 piglets at a time; eight is the natural size of a litter. The piglets are weak, though, and the pork industry finds that about 10 million piglets are accidentally crushed to death by their mothers every year, with these larger litters being a factor. Some of the experiments create n