A committee appointed by the USDA to investigate the federal Meat Research Center in Nebraska after allegations of animal welfare surfaced has issued its report. The committee’s report faulted the center’s management, the lack of clear procedures for animal care, and the absence of a clearly defined training program for handling animals. The report also identified conflicts of interest in the oversight process. Stricter oversight will be required in the future, and no new experimental projects may be started until procedures are strengthened.
The allegations of animal neglect were not substantiated by the report. The report indicated that “an investigating committee’s three-day visit to the center in February found no evidence of animal mistreatment.” The committee did not investigate past practices at the research facility.
Wayne Pacelle, the chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said the agency’s inquiry was disappointing. “What was needed was not a white-glove tour,” he said, “but a forensic look into how appalling abuses were allowed to occur at the center and others like it, and whether the leadership and the researchers who abused animals there should be retained.”