[Marxism] Fwd: Animal Welfare at Risk in Experiments for Meat Industry - NYTimes.com
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Tue Jan 20 07:52:43 MST 2015
At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains, scientists are using
surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit
the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are
huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less
There are, however, some complications.
Pigs are having many more piglets — up to 14, instead of the usual eight
— but hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are
being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which
normally bear one calf at a time, have been retooled to have twins and
triplets, which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers
that even meat producers have been repulsed.
Then there are the lambs. In an effort to develop “easy care” sheep that
can survive without costly shelters or shepherds, ewes are giving birth,
unaided, in open fields where newborns are killed by predators, harsh
weather and starvation.
Last Mother’s Day, at the height of the birthing season, two
veterinarians struggled to sort through the weekend’s toll: 25 rag-doll
bodies. Five, abandoned by overtaxed mothers, had empty stomachs. Six
had signs of pneumonia. Five had been savaged by coyotes.
“It’s horrible,” one veterinarian said, tossing the remains into a
barrel to be dumped in a vast excavation called the dead pit.
These experiments are not the work of a meat processor or rogue
operation. They are conducted by a taxpayer-financed federal institution
called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, a complex of laboratories
and pastures that sprawls over 55 square miles in Clay Center, Neb.
Little known outside the world of big agriculture, the center has one
overarching mission: helping producers of beef, pork and lamb turn a
higher profit as diets shift toward poultry, fish and produce.
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