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U.S. Government's War on Animals

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U.S. Government's War on Animals is an introduction to U.S. government subsidies, marketing, industry partnerships, federally funded and military animal testing programs and federal testing requirements. For animal rights and welfare issues, see also War on Animals. For farm animal issues in relation to human health and the environment, see also meat & dairy industry. For commercial dog breeding, see also puppy mills. For animal testing, see also animal testing. For humane groups, protests, boycotts and general observance days and weeks, see also Humane Movement. For U.S. legislation, see also U.S. animal rights legislation.

USDA certified puppy mills

Breeding dogs in puppy mill

These standards and restrictions affect all animals covered under the AWA, including large scale commercial breeders or puppy mills. There are only about a hundred U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors to monitor 10,000 facilities across the country, ranging from research labs to zoos. Furthermore, "standards" are abysmal. Federal guidelines allow a medium sized terrier to be kept in a cage the size of a clothes drier for its entire life. The AWA is hardly the gold standard for compassion. For example, the act does not say you cannot have 300 dogs confined to cages for their entire lives; never to be taken for a walk or receive any personal attention, let alone be a part of a family. A breeder passes USDA muster as long as the dog has food, water and enough space to turn around. Adhering to USDA standards does not prove that a breeder is not a puppy mill. Even more so since even these standards are not enforced. Many licensed breeders for large chains like Petland, have significant violations. [1]

See also puppy mills & NABR & the Animal Welfare Act.

USDA & the Hunte Corporation

The Hunte Corporation touts itself as the largest puppy dealer in the world, with sales in the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Japan. The company distributes animals through retail chains such as Petland. [2] According to a November 2007 article in the Tulsa World, the company buys and sells 90,000 puppies each year. Hunte is located in Goodman, Mo. and buys and sells purebred puppies for markets in 30 states. [3]

In September 2001, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri announced that the USDA had approved a $900,000 guaranteed rural development loan for the company to purchase equipment for its McDonald County operations; restructure its debt, and expand its operations. The loan followed a $3.5 million dollar loan from the USDA the previous year. According to Hunte, sales for 2001 would exceed 26 million, up from one million a decade earlier. [4]

Government subsidized agribusiness

HSUS investigation of Hallmark Meatpacking Co. in Chino CA reveals downer cows destined for USDA school lunch program. - Fall 2007

Ranch subsidies & wild life extermination

Tax dollars subsidize a little known branch of USDA APHIS called Wildlife Services (WS). [5] WS spends much of its time killing "pests," interpreted generally as animals who prey on livestock grazing on public land that has been leased to ranchers for a relatively small fee. A main target of this activity is the coyote. Methods used to kill coyotes include aerial gunning, gassing pups in their dens, traps that eject sodium-cyanide into an animal’s mouth, livestock protection collars filled with poison, steel traps and neck, body and leg snares; despite the availability of non-lethal methods and evidence that lethal control is ineffective. Each year, WS kills tens of thousands of coyotes, as well as hundreds or even thousands of wolves, mountain lions, bears, bobcats and other animals; sometimes for eating flowers and pet food, digging in gardens or frightening people. [6]

"Commodity foods" subsidies

On June 16, 1998, Dan Glickman announced eight grants to seven states to develop a wide range of projects for improving the marketing and distribution of agricultural products. [7] Two meat-promoting grants were: $68,161 to the Texas Department of Agriculture $70,300 to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. [8]

In May 1998, Dan Glickman announced that his agency had purchased 8 million pounds of beef and pork commodities at a cost of approximately $9 million. [9] These purchases are part of the USDA's $30 million pork and $30 million beef bonus annual buyouts. At the same time, the USDA announced plans to purchase up to $8 million of lamb products to offset that industry's surplus. "These bonus buys support the livestock industries by bolstering producer prices", announced Glickman. The beef, pork and lamb were to be distributed to the National School Lunch Program and other food assistance programs to increase "high-quality protein". [10] The USDA purchases 73 million pounds of cheese annually to help boost sagging dairy prices. [11]

Under the Dairy Price Support Program, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC, a division of the USDA) buys surplus butter, cheese, and nonfat dry milk from processors to support the dairy industry and maintain market prices. These purchases totaled 500 million pounds in the fiscal year 2000 and 400 million pounds in fiscal year 2001. [12]

Meat recall & lawsuit

In the fall of 2007, a 6 week Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) investigation of the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in Chino, California revealed "downer" or sick and injured dairy cows being processed to enter the food supply. Hallmark is one of the leading suppliers of the USDA's national school lunch program and supplies carcasses to the Westland Meat company. Hallmark is a federally inspected facility and the two companies operate as one entity. [13] The investigation prompted a government meat recall. [14]

On Feb. 27, 2008 HSUS filed suit against the USDA to close a dangerous loophole in its regulations which contributed to the recall of over 143 million pounds of beef; much of which was destined for school lunches in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The investigation documented shocking acts of animal cruelty to non-ambulatory or "downer" cattle at the USDA inspected slaughter house. In February of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hallmark/Westland would likely shut down permanently. Also in February of 2008, two former employees were charged with animal cruelty in an unprecedented legal action. [15]

Partnerships with industry

On June 16, 1998, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced eight grants to seven states to develop a wide range of projects for improving the marketing and distribution of agricultural products. [16] Two meat-promoting grants were: $68,161 to the Texas Department of Agriculture $70,300 to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. [17]

The CAFO Papers

In 2004, the government released hundreds of pages of documentation exposing Bush administration granting the meat & dairy industry control over a proposal to let Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)s or factory farms, off the hook for pollution violations. The documents revealed the extent of industry influence, with monthly closed door meetings between the administration and industry lobbyists. In May of 2002, lobbyists proposed a deal to let industry off the hook for violations of the basic environmental protections such as the Clean Air Act and toxics laws. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed agreement closely mirror's the industry's wish list. Other documents revealed the extent of access granted to industry polluters. Lobbyist even wrote a power-point presentation for the EPA, literally putting words in their mouths. [18]

Corporate controlled food supply

In early 2009, corporations like Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Sodexo and Tyson Foods wrote and sponsored "food safety" bills which, according to critics; hand control and policing of food to factory farms and corporations. They point out that bills impose industrial, anti-farming "standards" to independent farms. Also, that they subject those who do not use chemicals and fertilizers to severe penalties, which apply even to producers growing food for their own consumption. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009: HR 875 [19] was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, whose husband (Stanley Greenburg) works for Monsanto. According to critics, the bill includes criminalization of seed banking, prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers; 24 hour GPS tracking of their animals and warrentless government entry. [20], [21]

Other government agency & industry partnerships

See also USDA & FDA.

FDA approved agricultural practices & issues

Cows on rBGH

Waste products fed to farm animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally banned the practice of feeding cow meat and bone meal back to cows in 1997 (after the Mad cow disease epidemic in Great Britain). However, dried poultry waste and sewage sludge are routinely fed to cattle. Pigs and chickens are still routinely fed the bones, brains, meat scraps, feathers, and feces of their own species. Furthermore, tens of millions of shelter animals are also picked up by rendering plants. Thus commercial meat, dairy, and egg products often come from animals whose diet included the ground up remains of cats and dogs, including the euthanasia drugs injected into their bodies. [22] 40 billion pounds a year of slaughterhouse wastes (blood, bone, viscera) and euthanized cats and dogs from veterinarians and animal shelters, are rendered annually into livestock feed. [23] Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration has been using inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable data to track and oversee feed ban compliance. [24], [25] See also USDA.

Bovine growth hormones (rBGH)

The FDA approved the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) being injected into cows on February 4th, 1994. Both Europe and Canada turned down Monsanto's application for approval. Developed and manufactured by Monsanto, this genetically-engineered hormone forces cows to artificially increase milk production by 10 to 15%. [26] Monsanto spent approximately half a billion dollars on a hormone to increase milk production (for an already glutted, taxpayer-subsidized market). Additionally, Posilac creates additional Growth Factor One (IGF-1) in milk (a growth hormone which is identical in cows and humans). IGF-1 is considered to be a fuel cell for cancer growth and has been identified in the rapid growth cancer. The FDA insists that IGF-1 is destroyed in the stomach. [27] However, if that were true, the FDA has proven that breast feeding cannot work. [28] It is worth noting that rBGH is banned in every industrialized country in the world except for the U.S., Mexico and Brazil. According to Dr. Michael Hanson of the Consumers Union of the U.S., there is strong scientific evidence to support potential health hazards of rBGH and a case for labeling dairy products that contain rBGH. [29] The need for such an increase in milk production has been questioned since the dairy industry has been overproducing for 60 years. Between the years 1986 and 1987, dairy farmers were paid over 1.3 billion dollars to slaughter their cows. 144 dairy producers received over one million apiece to refrain from dairy farming for five years (one California producer received 20 million dollars). However, according to the General Accounting Office (GAO); "Total milk production did not decrease because nonparticipating farmers increased their production". [30] Additionally, cows injected with rBGH also have a 25% increase in udder infections and a 50% increase in lameness. [31] In August 2008, Monsanto sold their Posilac division to Eli Lilly [32] See also FDA, section 3 & animals raised & hunted for food.

EU ban on hormones and imports from U.S. and Canada

Since 1995, the European Union (EU) has prohibited the treatment of any farm animals with sex hormones, which includes a ban on hormone treated meat from the U.S. and Canada. [33] See also European Union, section 9.

Government funded vivisection & programs

Agencies funding animal testing include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Food and Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Office of Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH).

Government funded animal testing spends billions of dollars every year and kills millions of animals in an essentially unregulated industry. Hundreds of institutions and thousands of individuals profit off vivisection. Furthermore, the government pays for the same experiments to be done over and over. In the fiscal year ending in 2005, these seven government agencies funded over 28,937 projects for experiments on 27 species, including: monkeys, dogs, cats and rodents. These included 1200 separate projects (at up to $495,600,000) examining drug addiction. 778 projects studying "neural information processing" in 11 species racked up approximately $321,314,000. No experiment, however ridiculous, useless or painful; is illegal. The majority of animals used in experimentation receive absolutely no protection under current laws. Government funded animal testing costs U.S. taxpayers over $12 billion annually. [34] See also ten worst laboratories.

National Primate Research Center System

The National Primate Research Center System (NPRC) refers to eight regional centers that perform animal testing and breed primates for laboratories. The centers are supported by the NIH and have over 27,500 primates of 20 different species in captivity. [35] See also NPRC.

DoD animal testing programs

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) animal testing programs subject animals to irradiation, burnings, bombings, wounds and decompression sickness. [36] Every year, at least 320,000 primates, dogs, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, cats, and other animals are hurt and killed by the DoD. These experiments are considered to be the most painful and invasive conducted in the country. Also, since these figures do not take into account contractual research done at non-government facilities, the number of animals used is actually much higher. Armed forces facilities all over the U.S. test all manner of weaponry on animals; from Soviet AK-47 rifles to biological and chemical warfare agents to nuclear blasts. These experiments can be acutely painful, repetitive, costly and unreliable. Particularly so, because their effects can be or have been observed on humans and/or because results cannot be extrapolated to humans. The estimated cost for U.S. Military experiments on animals is over 100 million annually.

Examples of military experiments

  • In 1946; 4,000 sheep, goats, and other animals loaded onto a boat and set adrift in the South Pacific (near Bikini Atoll) and subsequently killed or severely burned by an atomic blast detonated above them. The experiment was nicknamed "The Atomic Ark".
  • At Brooks Air Force Base in Texas, rhesus monkeys were strapped to a B-52 flight simulator and given electric shocks to learn to "fly". They were then radiated with gamma rays to see if they could "hold out for 10 hours". Some vomited violently before being killed.
  • U.S. Army researchers at Fort Detrick, Maryland shaved the stomachs of rhesus monkeys and then attached cartons of mosquitoes to their bodies to study mosquito-transmitted disease. They also restrained rabbits in a device consisting of a small cage which pinned them down with steel rods while mosquitoes feasted on their bodies.
  • In DoD "wound labs", conscious or semiconscious animals are suspended from slings and shot with high-powered weapons. In 1983, in response to public pressure, Congress limited the use of dogs after using them since 1957. However, countless goats, pigs, and sheep are still being shot and at least one lab continues to shoot cats.
  • At Fort Sam Houston, the Army hangs goats upside down and shoots them in their hind legs. After physician "practice", surviving goats are killed. [37]

Congressional hearings on DoD experiments

During a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing on April 7, 1992, former military researchers, physicians, scientists and animal activists testified against waste, negligence and abuse. According to Rep. Ron Dellums:

"The committee has heard testimony that raises disturbing questions about the necessity, ethical propriety, oversight and quality of the military's experiments on animals".

The Committee implemented greater oversight, including annual reporting and an investigation by the General Accounting Office to reduce animals and eliminate duplication. Since these measures, DoD animal testing has declined by 42% and the GAO has also investigated research programs. [38]

Government testing requirements

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration require massive amounts of animal testing for the marketing of industrial chemicals, vaccines and drugs. For example, companies marketing fluoride products swab the teeth of 200 rats with the test substance for two weeks. The animals are subsequently killed and their heads baked in an oven for an hour. [39] The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety, effectiveness, and quality of pharmaceuticals, biologicals, and medical devices intended for human use. Also the safety, efficacy and quality of pharmaceuticals for animals, food, cosmetics and radiation emitting products. Thousands of rats, mice, rabbits, dogs, and primates are killed in "pre-clinical" tests for new drugs (including all ingredients and even minor differences in formulas). Following an extensive battery of animal testing, drugs generally undergo three phases of clinical trials. The fact that months or years of human studies are also required suggests health authorities do not trust the results. [40] In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that 92 out of every 100 drugs that successfully pass animal trials, subsequently fail human trials. [41], [42]

Force feeding animals increasing doses of chemicals (until they die) was invented around World War I and is still the most common animal test used today. The EPA requires pesticides be tested on dogs, who are shoved into "inhalation chambers" while deadly poisons that are pumped in. [43] The EPA requires more chemical toxicity animal testing than any other federal agency. In spite of hundreds of thousands of animals killed and calls to limit exposures to humans and the environment, the EPA has not banned a toxic chemical in 10 years (using it's authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.) [44] The chemical industry approves a near exclusive reliance on animal testing, since results are non-conclusive and easily manipulated. [45]

Other U.S. agencies that require and/or conduct animal testing include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Department of Transportation (DOT). [46] DOT conducts skin-corrosivity tests on rabbits, in spite of an accurate, federally approved test using synthetic skin (Corrositex). Rabbits backs are shaved and corrosive chemicals applied to raw skin (and left for up to two weeks) without pain relief. [47] See also animal testing, section 3 on product testing.

Animal Welfare Act (AWA)

The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service/Animal Care (USDA/APHIS/AC) is responsible for inspections, reporting and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA is the only federal law that regulates animals bred and sold by dealers, animals in entertainment, zoo animals and laboratory animals. [48]

Under reporting & lack of protection under AWA

Over 90% of the animals used in experimentation are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law which over sees animal testing. Rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are expressly eliminated from all safeguards. Species not covered under the AWA do not even have to be reported. [49] At no time have all U.S. laboratories reported in their total animals. The total of non-reporting facilities has varied from 22 to 128 (out of approximately 1100). This does not include animals who are not covered by the AWA, which are not even counted. Additionally, these statistics do not cover animals which are being held in laboratories for conditioning or breeding. For example, while the USDA reports over 57,000 primates in labs, the actual total is closer to 120,000. The AWA places no real restrictions on animal testing, animals are routinely subjected to addictive drugs, electric shock, food & water deprivation, isolation, severe confinement, caustic chemicals, burning, blinding, chemical and biological weapons, radiation, etc. A researcher has only to declare that a procedure is necessary for it to be allowed. [50] See also animal testing, section 2.

Loopholes & non-compliance

Even minimal requirements under the AWA are rarely enforced. [51] Animal suffering in laboratories is pervasive even for the 5% covered under the AWA. Researchers may even obtain permission from their local animal care committee to conduct research that they openly admit is in violation of federal law. Such “exceptions” prevent a USDA inspector from issuing a citation. Never-the-less, the vivisection industry insists that all is well within laboratories and federal laws are being complied with.

As a result of industry lobbying, local and state animal cruelty laws frequently contain an explicit exemption for laboratory animals; therefore it is impossible to be charge in those localities for cruelty to a laboratory animal.[52] Lobbyists have fought every reform from the simple walking of dogs to larger cages for primates. Thanks to vivisection industry lobbying, over 90% of all laboratory animals receive no protection under the law. [53] See also USDA

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Tim Vanderpool A Dog's Life: Petland stores feel the heat over a puppy-mill protest, Tucson Weekly, April 2009
  2. Jane Seymour That Bulldog in the Window: The Corporation, Friends of Animals, 2005
  3. Omer Gillham Puppy Showcase: Hunte Opens Doors to Huge Facility, Tulsa World, November 2007
  4. Jane Seymour That Bulldog in the Window: The Corporation, Friends of Animals, 2005
  5. Wildlife Services (WS): Wild Life Damage Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture, September 2009
  6. Mark Hawthorn, Spoiler Alert: 10 Things Animal Exploiters Do Not Want You to Know, Oped News, pg 2, February 2008
  7. Andy Solomon, Billy Cox USDA Awards eight grants for Agricultural Marketing, Research, USDA.gov, June 1998
  8. Michele Simon The Politics of Meat and Dairy: How Big Business Influences Government Policy and Our Food Choices, Earthsave News, Fall 1998
  9. Alicia L. Ford, Billy Cox Glickman Announces 9 Million in Meat Purchases, USDA.gov, Release No. 0207.98, May 1998
  10. Connie Crunkleton, Jerry R. Redding USDA Continues Beef Purchases for School Lunches, USDA.gov, Release No. 0442.96, August 1996
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  14. Ed Schafer Statement by Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer Regarding Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company Two Year Product Recall, Release No. 0046.08, USDA Press Office, February 2008
  15. Investigative Update: Cruelty at Calif. Slaughter Plant, HSUS, April 2008
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