Congressman Blumenauer is joined by Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) in introducing this legislation. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
The USMARC has received nearly $200 million from government coffers since 2006, clandestinely doing the research and development of the factory farming lobby. Some examples of experiments at the center include researchers trying to increase the number of cows who birth twins, increase litter sizes of pigs, and breed "easy care" lambs. According to thereport, at least 6,500 animals died of starvation and many suffered during exposure to extreme weather or attacks by predators. Several whistleblowers, including a veterinarian with 25 years of experience at the facility, shared stories of outrageous cruelty and neglect there.
USMARC isn't the only federal entity conducting such research; it is one of 40 facilities that are part of the Agricultural Research Service, a division of the USDA. A rough accounting reveals that these facilities received a total of $4.6 billion between the years 2006 and 2013. There is no reason that the ARS facilities shouldn't be required to follow basic standards for adequate food, housing, shelter, veterinary care, and alleviation of animal suffering. Ironically, the USDA is the agency tasked with enforcing the AWA at facilities that conduct biomedical research; therefore, if these same animals were used in a laboratory for human health research they would be protected under this federal law.