(Update: The letter mentioned in this post was delivered Jan. 26 to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.)
American Veterinary Medical Association President Dr. Ted Cohn issued the following statement today in response to a New York Times report detailing alleged instances of substandard animal-welfare conditions at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb. The facility is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.
“The American Veterinary Medical Association is deeply concerned about what is depicted in The New York Times article. We urge the USDA to fully investigate and take appropriate actions to ensure that the animals used for research at the facility are treated humanely in accordance with best animal-care practices,” Dr. Cohn said. “The AVMA believes that two approaches will help ensure good animal welfare in the future. First, ensure that veterinarians on-site at the facility have the necessary authority to ensure responsible animal care. And second, the Clay research center should request voluntary inspection by the Animal Care unit of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is responsible for Animal Welfare Act enforcement.
“The AVMA is in the process of drafting a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack sharing our policy on the Use of Animals in Research, Testing, and Education, expressing our concerns about the alleged conditions at the research center and suggesting potential solutions to help ensure the good health and welfare of the animals at this facility.”