In an article written by Michael Moss of the New York Times, he spoke about a facility that created more profit but came at a steep cost to the farm animals involved. The facility was a Meat Lab.
The potential benefits are huge; animals that produce more offspring, yield more flesh and cost less to raise.
But, and there’s always a but, there are some minor complications.
Pigs are having way more piglets – up to fourteen instead of the usual eight – but hundreds of those newborns that are too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed consistently when their mothers roll over.
Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been “fixed” so they can have twins and triplets. Unfortunately, they emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even the flesh producers have been repulsed. Now that’s one for Ripley’s!
Then there’s the lambs. In an effort to develop sheep that can survive without costly shelters or shepherds, ewes are giving birth, unaided, in open fields where the newborns are killed by predators and bad weather.
About a year or so ago at the height of the birthing season, two veterinarians had to deal with the weekend’s toll: twenty-five rag-doll bodies. Five abandoned by overtaxed mothers, had empty stomachs. Six had signs of pneumonia and five had been ripped apart by coyotes.
All the remains were tossed into a barrel destined to be dumped into a huge evacuation confine affectionately known as the “dead pit”.
These experiments are not the work of a flesh processor or some fly-by-night 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 fifty-five square miles in Clay Center, Nebraska.
It’s so wonderful to see our tax dollars in action despite this action being hidden by the mainstream media and the government.
Also, not widely known outside the world of Big Ag, the center has one salient purpose: to help destroyers of beef, pork and lamb turn a higher profit as diets shift toward poultry, fish and vegetarianism.
Since Congress founded it fifty years ago to consolidate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research on farm animals, the center has worked to make lamb chops bigger, pork loins less fatty, and beefsteaks easier to chew.
But all those endeavors came at a steep cost to the center’s animals, which have been subjected to more illnesses, more pain and more premature deaths over many, many years.
The research to increase pig liters began in 1986; the twin calves have been dying at high rates since 1984, and the easy-care lambs for 10 years.
Too bad they never figured out a way to eliminate the mercury, PCBs, and toxic waste from fish, the horrendous amounts of doodoo from the poultry, and all the GMOs from the beef feed. Maybe then we could appreciate “our government in action”.
As the decades have passed, the center has come to grips with another issue. That being a exploding public concern for the well-being of creatures-for-slaughter that has even made its way into the beef industry where a demand for humanely raised “products” (aka living beings) has proliferated.
I always wondered how a commodity for consumption, be it a someone or a something, could be humanely killed. After all, with high profit being the motivator, slaughter comes via an assembly line. Do you really even think that a worker on an assembly line would even consider the word – humanely? No way. The thought is always move ‘em and kill ‘em.
But, our trusted government understands that it has been widely accepted that experimentation on animals and its benefits for people like cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and more, will entail some distress and death. Gotta love the politicians!
So, The Animal Welfare Act – a watershed federal law enacted in 1966, two years after the center opened – sought to minimize that suffering. But it left a huge exemption: farm animals used in research to benefit agriculture. Don’t ya love it when other areas seeking profits are granted exemptions?
To close that loophole, more than two-dozen companies and universities that experiment on farm animals have sought out independent overseers and joined organizations that scrutinize their research and staff. Interestingly enough, the center has resisted this as far back as 1985 because various corporate “hookers” said “. . . that membership may bring more visibility to its activities, which we may not want.”
While the center’s “big brother” agency, the Ag Department, strictly (allegedly) polices the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses and private laboratories, it does not attempt to monitor the center’s use of animals or even enforce its own rules requiring careful scrutiny of experiments.
As a result of this, the center, which was built on the site of a World War II-era ammunition depot about two hours southwest of Omaha and locked behind a security fence – similar to all the Monsanto plants (birds of a feather…) – became the destination for the kind of high-risk, potentially controversial research that other institutions will not do or are no longer allowed to do.
What the center does is to pay tons of attention to increasing animal production and virtually none to animal welfare. Since not being held responsible why would they give a crap about what’s going on?
The bottom line is PROFIT. Make the livestock bigger and leaner despite creating harmful complications that require more intensive experiments to solve.
The leaner pigs that the center helped develop are so low in fat that, for example, one in five females cannot reproduce so the center’s, if you’ll pardon the expression, “scientists” have been operating on pigs’ ovaries and brains in an attempt to make the sows more fertile. Then of the 580,000 animals the center has housed since 1985, at least 6,500 have starved and a single , easily treatable problem like mastitis, which is a painful infection of the udder, has killed more the 625.
The experiments have not always helped the flesh business. Industry-wide, about ten million piglets are crushed by their mothers every year with the goal of bigger litters being the major contributor.
Not only do they generate more and weaker piglets, but the mothers have also grown larger because they are kept alive longer to reproduce.
With the production of meat being a rough enterprise to begin with, the Meat Lab stands out despite many met producers balking at the harm caused to all their flesh victims.
The Meat Lab’s spokesperson says that they “. . are greatly concerned about the humane treatment of creatures for consumption as anyone else. But, it’s not a perfect world and we’re trying to feed a population that is expanding very rapidly to nine billion by 2050, and if we are going the feed that population, there has to be some trade-offs.”
In other words, if you are addicted to flesh and blood why would you even give a shit about what happens to a creature before you eat it?
Oh yeah, the Meat Lab has been used as a teaching facility for the Univ. of Nebraska in Lincoln to teach animal “care”.
In closing, whatever we eat – flesh or plants – has to die. Killing always invites karma. In the ancient scripture, Bhagavad-gita, God says: “If one offers Me, with love and devotion, a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”
First, He makes it clear that He will accept only plant-based foods. By His accepting these foods, He removes any karmic reaction due to the killing of the plants making what you eat purified. Second, by offering plant-based foods, flowers and water to Him you are in the beginning stages of developing a relationship with Him.
As this progresses, He, from within your heart, will lead you to those that can help you develop a more personal relationship with Him.
We all have choices in life.