Public Research Lab Ignores Animal Welfare in Favor of Profits: New York Times

The U.S. Meat Animal Research Center routinely tortures, abuses, and neglects the animals housed at its remote Nebraska laboratory, using them for bio-engineering experiments to benefit the meat industry with no regard for their welfare, an investigation published Tuesday by the New York Times has discovered.

The taxpayer-funded plant in Clay Center, Nebraska, which the Times describes as a “complex of laboratories and pastures that sprawls over 55 square miles,” was established by Congress 50 years ago to help producers of beef, pork, and lamb turn a profit as American diets increasingly turn away from dark meat and toward fish, poultry, and produce.

Despite some success in expanding food safety, the center has spent the past several decades subjecting its pigs, sheep, cows, lambs, and other livestock to “illness, pain and premature death,” while actively resisting public demand for better welfare of experimental animals. As such, the Times notes, the laboratory “has become a destination for the kind of high-risk, potentially controversial research that other institutions will not do or are no longer allowed to do.”

Dr. James Keen, a scientist and veterinarian who worked at the center for 24 years, approached the Times with his concerns over the animals’ welfare after previous attempts to raise the issue resulted in a university supervisor informing him that he was no longer welcome at the center.

“They pay tons of attention to increasing animal production, and just a pebble-sized concern to animal welfare,” Keen told the Times. He described unsanitary housing and brutal treatment of pigs; violent forced mating between bulls and cows; and hormonal experiments conducted on sheep, among other atrocities.