The "Animal Science" Problem At a Glance
An Animal Rights Article from


By David Cantor, Responsible Policies for Animals
June 2009

Land Grant Universities (LGU's) are also referred to as Land Grant Colleges or Land Grant Institutions. They receive funding that supports "animal science" which means agribusiness.

In 1996, the Agriculture Committee of the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council wrote in Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: Public Service and Public Policy,

If the world's expanding population is to be fed and clothed at a reasonable cost and without further degradation of the natural resource base or environmental quality, then … more sustainable ways to produce food … must continually be sought.

The Committee did not even explore fundamental questions such as whether it is in the public interest for our land-grant universities (LGUs) to serve the meat industry or whether it is inhumane to use animals for food. And ...

  • Almost every member of the Committee represented the meat, milk, egg, or feed-crop industry.
  • Almost every member of the Committee held an agribusiness-related degree from, taught at, or had other connections to at least one LGU.
  • No member of the Committee was a nutritionist, a public-health practitioner, an environmentalist, an animal advocate, or any other kind of public-interest professional.
  • The Committee's list of published sources did not include any of the numerous works documenting serious problems and recommending change in nutrition, health, environment, or the treatment of animals.

Our LGUs were chartered by Congress starting in 1862 to serve the public interest by serving farmers. More than 50 percent of Americans made their living farming in 1862. Today about 0.7 percent do.

The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture by Wendell Berry (1977), Broken Heartland: The Rise of America's Rural Ghetto by Osha Gray Davidson (1990), The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply by Ken Midkiff (2004), and Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money by Erik Marcus (2005) are among many sources revealing how our LGUs' service to big agribusiness - the meat, milk, egg, feed-crop, agrichemical and pharmaceuticals industries - rather than to farmers harms the public interest.

"Animal science" at our LGUs, not self-generating popular demand for meat, milk & eggs, is the primary driving force behind the meat industry's enormous threat to people and Earth's other beings. LGUs award degrees to a large number of people who become influential members of society: officials, executives, reporters, physicians, attorneys, educators, and others. Important things they are taught and not taught about food production due to their schools' "animal science" programs hinder progress in health, environmental protection, and the treatment of animals.


Widespread disease & obesity and soaring medical & insurance costs due to a mistaken belief that meat, milk & eggs are appropriate foods for human beings.


Eliminate our land-grant universities' "animal science" programs.


That human beings are natural herbivores is basic textbook stuff. Human beings have all anatomical & physiological traits of herbivores, no food-related traits of omnivores or carnivores. This is briefly but thoroughly explained in The Comparative Anatomy of Eating by Milton R. Mills, M.D. 

Study after study has shown links between chronic diseases that kill millions of Americans each year and meat, milk and egg consumption. High costs of drugs used to treat those diseases are the main cause of soaring medical-insurance costs. The fats in meat, milk & eggs have long been a known culprit, but now animal protein is, too – see Cornell nutrition scientist T. Colin Campbell's The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted (2005).

Dr. Campbell authored or co-authored more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and sat on many important nutrition panels in his decades-long research & teaching career. Growing up on a dairy farm and anticipating a career improving cow nutrition, he followed the research data to recommend an all-plant diet.

It is difficult for the public to learn the truth about nutrition and health when industries as influential as meat, milk, egg & feed crops wield enormous lobbying, advertising, and public-relations budgets. LGU "animal science" programs' billions of dollars' worth of service to those industries enables them to determine people's food choices decade after decade. As Dr. Campbell explains, as well as New York University nutritionist Marion Nestle in Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002), the meat, milk, egg & feed-crop industries act in concert while the hundreds of different produce industries – providing the foods human beings need for health & wellbeing – treat each other as competitors.

It's not just academic!

"Animal science" harms human health & wellbeing.


800 million people worldwide lack adequate food; raising animals for food rapidly depletes water and topsoil, contaminates water and soil, deprives free-living animals of habitat, and contributes to the warming of Earth's climate.


Eliminate our land-grant universities' "animal science" programs.


Having analyzed for decades the state of Earth's resources and relationships between human beings and the environment, the World Watch Institute concluded meat production is not sustainable. The feature article "Meat: Now, It's Not Personal! But Like It or Not, Meat-Eating Is Becoming a Problem for Everyone on the Planet" in the July/August 2004 World-Watch magazine is definitive.

The World-Watch editors cited or quoted 12 national & international organizations and 20 experts regarding the flesh, milk & egg industries' significant contributions to "virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future."

Some of the experts quoted in the World-Watch article teach at LGUs.

Countless additional authorities agree.

For decades, nothing has been done despite LGU and government knowledge of extensive and worsening environmental problems caused by "animal science." "Animal science" has made the meat industry more and more dangerous and has helped Big Meat extend its reach worldwide. "Animal science" gives Big Meat political influence that helps it receive huge subsidies and avoid scrutiny, skepticism and regulation.

It's not just academic!

"Animal science" hinders desperately needed environmental and food-production reform and threatens life as it's been experienced for millions of years.


Preventable animal suffering caused by humans.


Eliminate our land-grant universities' "animal science" programs.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service indicates more than 10 billion animals are killed by the U.S. food industry each year – 10 times more than in 1940. In Eating with Conscience: The Bioethics of Food (1997), Dr. Michael Fox, who holds a veterinary degree, a Ph.D. in medicine, and a D.Sc. in ethology/animal behavior, describes intense, long-term suffering of most animals used for food today. Books documenting factory-farming horrors are many and go back several decades – see Animal Machines by Ruth Harrison (1964), Animal Factories by Jim Mason & Peter Singer (1980), and others.

Animals raised for food live very small fractions of their species' natural lifespans, and the vast majority suffer terribly throughout their short lives. Our LGUs' "animal science" programs, to maximize meat-industry efficiency developed inhumane methods that dominate today's system. And "animal science" trains thousands of people each year to run that system.

The capacity to experience a life, including pain and pleasure, is much too complex to have emerged in human beings first. It has been an evolutionary advantage shared by other animals for hundreds of millions of years. Minimizing suffering and maximizing comfort & pleasure enhances animals' chances to survive and reproduce. In addition, just about every mental capacity attributed to human beings has been found in some form and in some degree in other animals. There is no justification for failing to give nonhuman animals equal consideration for equal interests.

Animal-cruelty laws cannot prevent suffering inflicted in a legal & economic system where animals are property. Scholars, attorneys, and others have published conclusive arguments that all sentient beings have moral rights and that humane treatment of animals – a universal human value – will not be possible until all sentient beings possess basic legal rights. See RPA's article on rights, Introduction to Animal Rights by Gary Francione (2000), Speciesism by Joan Dunayer (2004), The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan (1983), and others.

Teaching that it is appropriate for people to eat from animals contradicts that nonhuman animals have moral rights that should be established in law. "Animal science" teaches – and some instructors and officials teach explicitly – that nonhuman animals have no moral rights and can have no legal rights. There is no factual basis for such claims.

In 1997, agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture collaborated in compiling Animal Welfare Issues Compendium: A Collection of 14 Discussion Papers for our LGUs' "animal science" programs. Many of the papers have more than one author. Twenty-seven authors from 21 LGUs took part, as did one USDA agency and a "swine center" in Canada. Most authors are "animal science" or veterinary instructors. All work in professions funded by inhumane treatment of animals. All of the Compendium's papers are public relations for the authors' professions. Many misrepresent animal-rights arguments by quoting literature out of context and arguing against what the literature does not say.

The Compendium was clearly designed to dismiss legitimate criticism of animal exploitation that threatens the authors' and facilitators' careers and professions – and to keep students from thinking logically about animal exploitation. That is the opposite of what all universities are supposed to do. Universities exist primarily to promote critical thinking.

Teaching "animal science" violates basic principles of academic and intellectual integrity, putting industry profits above education and universities' obligation to search for the truth.

Thomas Lickona's award-winning book Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility (1991) is one of many that emphasize humane treatment of animals. "Humane" means kind and it is never kind to use animals.

In short, "animal science" promotes inhumane treatment of animals even though Americans believe in treating animals humanely and even though using animals is harmful to people and the planet all beings need.

It's not just academic!

Our LGUs' "animal science" programs cause suffering and destruction on a massive scale and prevent students from learning how to stop it.

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