UPDATED: The USDA has responded to a New York Times article detailing animal welfare issues at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed agency staff to create and deliver an updated Animal Welfare Strategy plan within 60 days; the order was send out Friday afternoon.

Reuters reports.

The USDA action was taken after a comprehensive – and disturbing – piece was published in the New York Times. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss, the article details animal welfare issues at a federally operated research facility in Nebraska, including neglect and questionable scientific research.

“These experiments are not the work of a meat processor or rogue operation. They are conducted by a taxpayer-financed federal institution called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, a complex of laboratories and pastures that sprawls over 55 square miles in Clay Center, Neb. Little known outside the world of big agriculture, the center has one overarching mission: helping producers of beef, pork and lamb turn a higher profit as diets shift toward poultry, fish and produce.

A difficult but important article to read; access it by following this link to the New York Times.