USDA Research Facility on Lockdown

The US Department of Agriculture is halting new research at its Meat Animal Research Center until animal welfare-related conditions improve.

Mar 10, 2015
Tracy Vence

USDANearly two months after The New York Times published an investigative report revealing animal welfare violations at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency is halting new research at the facility until animal welfare-related conditions, training, and oversight are improved, Reuters reported this week (March 9).

In a draft report released this week, Reuters reported, the USDA maintained it had not observed any instances of “animal abuse, misuse, or mistreatment.” However, the agency—which is tasked with monitoring the welfare of animals used in some external federally funded research—noted that that the Meat Animal Research Center was not in compliance with policies set by the agency’s Agricultural Research Service. Elsewhere in the report, the independent panel that conducted the review of activities at the Nebraska facility noted that the Meat Animal Research Center’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee “provided the review panel no evidence that it met regularly to discuss issues or concerns over animal care, and no evidence of a formal review or approval process for research projects proposed by the oversight committee members themselves,” according to Reuters.