Bipartisan Support to Protect "Food Animals" from Torture

Research animals at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center need all help possible

Posted Feb 08, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an essay called "'Food Animals' Brutalized at Federally Funded 'Meat Lab'". It was motivated by an incredibly important investigative essay in the New York Times by Michael Moss called "U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit" that shows clearly, and in most disturbing detail, that "food animals" -- including cows, lambs, and pigs -- at Nebraska's tax-payer financed U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, are brutally and heartlessly harmed and killed by "meat researchers" -- some left to die on their own or killed by predators -- in their reprehensible quest to make "super animals" for profit with no concern for their well-being.

The Aware Act: Bipartisan support to protect "food animals"

Mr. Moss's investigative essay is one of the most important of its type and I hope it receives even wider readership. It is not just "radical hype." And, because of this landmark essay, there is now bipartisan support brewing in the U. S. Congress to protect these animals from the unimaginable ways these emotional and sentient animal beings are heartlessly brutalized. 

Mr. Moss reports on this new, and long overdue, interest in the lives of experimental farm animals, in another essay in the New York Times called "Lawmakers Aim to Protect Farm Animals in U.S. Research." He writes: "The bill [called The Aware Act] aims to extend the federal Animal Welfare Act to shield cows, pigs, sheep and other animals used for agricultural research at federal facilities, including the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., a unit of the Department of Agriculture. The act, which became law in 1966, excluded those animals, focusing largely on cats and dogs used in laboratory research. Sponsors of the new legislation, called the Aware Act, said they were prompted by a Jan. 19 article in The New York Times that raised concerns about the treatment of farm animals at the center, a 50-year-old institution that uses breeding and surgical techniques to make the animals bigger, leaner, more prolific and more profitable. Interviews and internal records showed that experiments and everyday handling there have often subjected animals to illness, pain and premature death, and that the center lacked the oversight that many universities and companies have adopted for their research on animals." 

Sponsors of the bill include Representative Mike Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat. Senate sponsors include Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat. It's nice to see that concern for the well-being of "food animals" can cross the aisle, because torture and pain should know of no party lines given what we know about the emotional lives of "food animals" and how they clearly suffer in this barbaric "research" facility that should be closed down immediately.

Cruelty can't stand the spotlight: Activism works

I merely want to call attention to this pending legislation to make the point that "cruelty can't stand the spotlight" and that activism in many different forms can have an effect. Mr. Moss's original essay is indeed a form of activism and it has produced results.

Kudos to Mr. Moss and those who are proposing new and significant legislation to protect "food animals" from egregious neglect, harm, pain, suffering, and death. Please contact members of  Congress (see also) to support these most-needed efforts to protect "food animals. It's about time the government used what we know about the emotional lives of animals to protect them from unnecessary and inhumane torture. However, it took an essay in the New York Times, not scientific essays about animal sentience nor popular reports about these essays, to motivate politicians to get involved in protecting these animals. We don't need more science, we need more action that can easily and solidly be based on what we already know about how these animals deeply suffer. 

The free teaser image can be seen here

Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservationWhy dogs hump and bees get depressed, and Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistenceThe Jane effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) has recently been published. (; @MarcBekoff)