[Marxism] Fwd: Animal Welfare at Risk in Experiments for Meat Industry - NYTimes.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
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 
to raise.

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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