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Federal Agency’s Report on USMARC Disappointing

The USDA’s Office of the Inspector General released an interim report on the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska, where The New York Times exposed appalling animal abuse this January. Lawmakers were outraged by these abuses, and the House and Senate agriculture appropriations subcommittees recently demanded higher standards of animal care at all USDA Agricultural Research Service facilities.

The USDA has also started independent animal welfare inspections by its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of all ARS facilities – a step commended by The Humane Society of the United States.

The interim report appears to justify appalling animal abuses as "in line with industry norms" – including the preventable crushing of hundreds of piglets, deaths by exposure of dozens of cattle, an experiment that left 95 percent of female cows born with deformed vaginas, and an effort to develop "easy care" sheep by leaving newborn lambs in open fields to perish from harsh weather and predators. If these are in fact "industry norms," this shows that the meat industry needs to change, not that the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center’s abuses were justified.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, released the following statement:

“The Inspector General’s report amounts to a whitewash. The nation was appalled by the gruesome experiments conducted at a federally funded facility but somehow the government feels that the practices were customary. They were not – they were appalling.”

Media Contact: Anna West: 240-751-2669; awest@humanesociety.org

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