Animal research

Center for Law and Ethics in Animal Research

Dr james keen

A veterinarian and professor turned whistleblower and animal welfare hero, Dr James Keen was once a supporter of industrial animal agriculture, but now he advocates for a more humane way. Dr Keen previously worked at a facility in Nebraska called “MARC,” a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research facility that spends taxpayer dollars on the goals of the meat industry. increase the productivity of livestock. After years of following the line, Dr. Keen couldn’t take it anymore. The research conducted at the facility was barbaric and cruel. He tried to reform MARC from the inside out, but when his reports of animal neglect and abuse fell on deaf ears with MARC officials, Dr Keen had no problem. no choice but to contact the media. He enlisted the help of Michael Moss at New York Times. The resulting 2015 survey item indignant much and the public cries were deafening.

MARC’s research focused on improving production efficiency tested the biological limits of cattle, pigs and sheep. Experiments in the facility allowed lambs to die in the cold, calves to be born weak and deformed, piglets to be run over by their mothers and, in one particularly gruesome incident, to allow a cow to be ridden to death by several bulls. The Animal Welfare Act does not apply to USDA research facilities like MARC, so there was little to no oversight.

In the 2015 New York Times article, Dr Keen said: “They pay a lot of attention to increasing animal production and just care about animal welfare … And that probably sounds good to them because they don’t think about it, and they are not to be held responsible. But most Americans and even cattle ranchers would find it difficult to support some of the things the center has done. “

Following Dr. Keen’s whistleblowing, federal legislation was proposed, but not passed, that would have applied the Animal Care Act to federal research facilities like MARC. USDA officials have inspected the facility and the Secretary of Agriculture has suspended further studies at MARC until proper monitoring can be established. The USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report concluded that the agricultural research service’s oversight of the MARC facility was inadequate and highlighted needed reforms. The report specifically mentioned that staff feared retaliation for reporting issues, and therefore rarely did so.