Thousands of goats and rabbits have been found severely neglected with hundreds more being hidden from inspectors in a California biotech animal abuse case. Now, a federal investigation is under way into serious animal cruelty claims against Santa Cruz Biotechnology lab, which creates antibodies from animal blood, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to hold a hearing on the case.
What’s potentially more unnerving than the cruelty itself, is the fact that the government had let the situation continue on years after animal welfare and site inspection laws were broken, leading the the suffering and death of thousands more animals.
Untreated Wounds, Hidden Barns and a Bolt Gun Execution
Among the horrific abuse claims the USDA is now investigating are a goat with an untreated coyote bite, another with severe malnutrition and a facial tumor after being bitten by a rattlesnake, and another left dying of treatable pneumonia.
These were just a few of the two dozen individual cruelty cases that inspectors happened to find upon inspection on a single day; it’s hard to imagine how many animals have suffered similar fates over the years.
While the inspection team were there, they also witnessed one sick goat being shot in the head with a bolt gun because it was ill and there was no vet available to give treatment. This is not the only allegation of animals dying at the facility due to lack of veterinary care.
On top of these individual cruelty cases which have been filled, a tip-off from an ex facility vet led to the discovery of an entire barn full of sick and ill goats which had been deliberately hidden from USDA inspectors for years. This discovery alone should have been enough to shut the facility down, yet little action has been taken up until now.
Weak Animal Welfare Laws Encourage a Culture of Cruelty
Numerous reports have been filed about the animal abuses being committed inside the Santa Cruz Biotechnology facility, which USDA inspector Marcy Rosendale has been visiting since 2003. She claims that she has seen “the same problems over and over again.” The company promised the USDA that they would take better care of their animals back in 2005, but little has changed since that promise was made.
After years of legal animal welfare breaches, the USDA has finally decided to step in and conduct a thorough investigation on the Santa Cruz Biotechnology facility, and we can only hope that tougher sanctions are placed upon these animal abusers.
The problems go far deeper than this single case though, as lax laws are allowing all kinds of cruelty to go unpunished in similar facilities around the country.
There are around 1,100 similar biotech facilities in the U.S., and their activity falls under the Animal Welfare Act, passed in 1966. The problem is that even when cruelty and abuse cases are filed, sentencing has been notoriously weak on offending companies.
A USDA General Inspector report which was released in December, showed that the government had been reducing violation fines by an average of 86 percent, which amounted to an insignificant sum of money in comparison to what these companies are making in their billion dollar market.
It is clear to see that the companies have little respect for the lives and welfare of the animals they are exploiting, and when the law does little to protect them either, they suffer by the thousands.
We should not be turning a blind eye towards companies profiting from the abuse and murder of innocent animals. This systemic cruelty needs to be stopped now.