Animal testing is a practice that is commonly associated with the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, but as it turns out the U.S. Government also subjects farm animals to cruel tests and experiments. For the animal agriculture industry, the goal of their experiments are to optimize animals used for food to the utmost degree … with the human population set to rise to nine billion by 2050, the demand for meat and animal products is predicted to be higher than ever.

So how is the animal agriculture industry planning to meet these demands? By genetically manipulating farm animals to an insane degree, of course!

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The experiments being run on animals in the agriculture industry almost seem like something out of a sadistic sci-fi novel. Pigs are being bred to live longer and produce double the piglets, the only catch is the piglets are weak and often end up crushed by their mothers who are confined to an extreme degree. Cows that normally only bear one calf at a time are being made to have twins … or even triplets! Like the piglets, these calves are sickly and often deformed.

But these tests are all justifiable in the name of our rising need to meat, eggs and dairy … right? Well in the eyes of the tax-payer funded, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, yes.

All the tests and experiments being wrought on these innocent animals are done in an effort to make meat more appealing to the average consumer. In addition to creating “highly productive” animals, the center works to make steak less chewy, lamb chops bigger and pork chops that have less fat. As people begin to turn away from these hard-core meats in favor or poultry and fish, the research center is doing all it can to revive American’s love for meats.

Unlike animals used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, these farm animals are exempt from the protection under the Animal Welfare Act. Although the Agriculture Department oversees the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, it does very little in the way of monitoring how the center uses animals, or scrutinizing the experiments they conduct. Since the center opened in 1985, around 6,500 animals have starved to death and 625 have died due to lack of treatment for a simple mastitis infection.

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James Keen, a scientists who worked at the center for 24 years, tells the New York Times, “They pay tons of attention to increasing animal production, and just a pebble-sized concern to animal welfare … But most Americans and even livestock producers would be hard pressed to support some of the things that the center has done.”

When meat producers are horrified by how animals are treated, that is giant red flag that something is wrong. Despite receiving this criticism, along with much other internal criticism from employees, the center continues to operate and torture animals, denying any wrong doing. One excuse given to justify the cruel experiments carried out on animals is that the “center lacks the expertise to assess the pain felt by animals.

All mammals, humans and animals alike, have nearly identical nerve and limbic systems. With only this basic knowledge it can be assumed that animals feel fear and pain just as readily as we do. Regardless of the claims made in defense of these actions, it is blatantly clear that the acts carried out against animals in this facility are cruel and incredibly inhumane. Given the fact that the experiments aren’t even always helpful to the meat industry, we can’t help but to wonder why such a facility even exists at all …

Image source: Steve Evans/Flickr

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