A new bill would finally grant federal protections for cows, sheep and pigs who are used in meat industry experiments.
"Right now, it's a free-for-all. It's really difficult to find out who is doing this research and where because they don't have to report it publicly," Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States, told The Dodo. "But [under the new legislation] these facilities would have to submit annual reports. It would make it a lot more transparent."
The bill, proposed Thursday by five U.S. representatives, would close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that exempts farm animals used in these experiments from virtually any basic welfare standards. It would require the three dozen or so federal facilities that experiment on livestock to legally adhere to the AWA regulations.
According to Conlee, the AWA sets standards for daily care, including regulations for feeding, ventilation, sanitation, minimization of pain, veterinary care and employee training. The act also requires that facilities set up small committees to monitor decisions regarding animal care, and it forces them to publicly report animal care.