None of you could have forgotten the horrific images and information we shared with you about what goes on at the Meat Animal Research Centre (MARC) in Nebraska, USA. This is a place where farm animals experience torture and endless suffering, all in the name of research on how to maximise profits for the meat industry. MARC is paid for by U.S. tax-payers.
In one research experiment, the foetuses of pigs were “manually crushed” in order to study the effect of empty uterine space on birth intervals. And in his shocking full length investigation , Michael Moss described workers pushing animals, or watching them fall, as the workers stood by and enjoyed donuts. One poor cow had her head held in a cage-like device for hours and was mounted by a bull until her bones were broken, her insides were torn apart, and she died.
Network for Animals sent one of our representatives to Washington to speak about this abhorrent place in 2015, and thousands of you signed our petition to former United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. However, MARC remains open, and it is all due to loopholes in the USA's Animal Welfare Act. These loopholes mean that farm animals can legally endure unimaginable cruelty in the name of research.
We brought you the good news last year that some politicians who care about animal welfare were fighting to have the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavours (AWARE) Act, passed, in an attempt to put an end to the kind of cruelty that is happening to farm animals at MARC. The AWARE Act was good news for farm animals in the USA and we waited expectantly to see what the outcome would be.
Sadly, we are still waiting. It has been well over a year since the Act was introduced and something or someone appears to be stalling it from proceeding any further.
Network for Animals put in a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to the USDA last October, asking them for precise information about what was going on behind the scenes with regards to the AWARE Act. We asked if any progress had been made, and if not, why not. The USDA told Network for Animals that we should expect to hear back from them regarding our FOIA request by 21 November 2016. Over 4 months later, and they are still silent. We will continue to ask them the questions they don't want to answer.
Last October, NFA also got in touch with the original co-sponsors of the AWARE Act, to thank them for what they are doing for animals and to ask each Congressman/woman or Representative if they could tell us what was stalling progress of the Act, and if they could give us any reassurance that MARC would be closed down.
The only people to respond to our correspondence were from Congressman Blumenauer's team, which we were very grateful for, given the turmoil that was going on in U.S. politics at the time. They have told NFA that Congressman Blumenauer will continue to try and push the Act through, and that they will keep NFA informed of his progress. No statement was made regarding our questions about MARC.
What can you do to help these poor farm animals?
- If you live in the USA, please contact your Representative and ask them to add their name to the AWARE Act, and to fight for MARC to be shut down.
- No matter where you live in the world, you can contact the USDA and ask them why the Act is still not being put into place.
- Everyone can harness the power of social media and contact the sponsors of the AWARE Act on Twitter and Facebook, and ask them what is stalling its progress, and why MARC is still open.
- Share this article far and wide, so people know the true horror of what is going on at MARC