An animal research center in Nebraska has been cleared of accusations it abused animals and now can get back to its work.
A federal audit conducted by the Office of Inspector General clears the United States Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center of animal abuse charges, though it says its animal welfare oversight needs improvement.
Nebraska Cattlemen Executive Vice President Pete McClymont says the center does valuable work.
“It’s kind of a lost gem that people don’t really recognize within the state,” McClymont tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So, for those who don’t know about it, it is improving efficiency and sustainability for food production. For that, we can be very proud of those at MARC.”
A New York Times article in 2015 accused the Clay Center facility of fostering a culture in which animal neglect and abuse was tolerated by researchers bent on generated more and more profit for the livestock industry. The Inspector General report stated it couldn’t confirm many of the findings of the article.
McClymont says good grew out of the controversy as the center formalized procedures and created a more defined process to answer its critics.
McClymont says the research at Clay Center is in great demand.
“Our urban centers are getting bigger and we’re losing farm ground,” according to McClymont. “So, the reality of it is we have to do more with less and we also have to do it in a more sustainable way so we use less resources to do that.”
The Clay Center facility is located between Hastings and Clay Center on 33,000 acres which formerly served as a naval munition depot. More than 100 researchers work there. The center has more than 12,000 head of cattle, nearly 14,000 head of hogs, and nearly 4,000 head of sheep.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]