Campaign Updates: USDA ‘Tax’ on Farmers Funds Cruel Tests

Experimenters are douching, poisoning, force-feeding, starving, radiating, bleeding, suffocating, beheading, and dissecting animals purportedly to make health claims for marketing blueberries, watermelons, and other common foods to consumers. Funding for these worthless and deadly tests comes from a portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fees that farmers are required to pay to agricultural commodity research and promotion boards (known as “checkoffs”), whose boards of directors are appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). We’ve urged Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to abolish what effectively amounts to a draconian “tax” on farmers who pay for these cruel tests and to end this senseless bloodshed—and you can help.

PETA Supporters Confront United Soybean Board Vice President at Farmers’ Convention

March 10, 2023

PETA supporters shouted down Mac Marshall, vice president of market intelligence for the United Soybean Board (USB), at the 2023 Commodity Classic, an annual agricultural convention. The animal advocates exposed the USB’s shameful refusal to ban animal testing funded by farmers and urged the organization to use modern, human-relevant research methods instead.

PETA Activists Crash Blueberry Convention to Protest Animal Exploitation

February 23, 2023

During the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s Blueberry Convention in San Diego, local activists took to the streets to urge the council to stop supporting deadly animal testing that isn’t required by law. The activists held signs reading, “USHBC: End Cruel, Useless Animal Tests,” and distributed informative leaflets to passersby as part of PETA’s latest push to get the council to stop funding animal tests.

Protesters pictured outside of hotel

National Black Farmers Groups and PETA: Stop Bloody Animal Tests, USDA!

October 28, 2021 

Farms to Grow, a national advocacy group for Black and other underserved minority farmers, has joined PETA in writing to the USDA and agricultural checkoff boards to demand that farmers’ hard-earned money stop being used to fund animal experiments.

“It … defies logic that these tests—in which animals have been beheaded for blueberries, mutilated for mangoes, and suffocated for soybeans—would purport to help promote those agricultural products, since the majority of consumers don’t support animal cruelty. Conducting these tests is a horrible marketing strategy that does a disservice to farmers, consumers, and animals.”

—Gail P. Myers, Ph.D., Cofounder, Farms to Grow

Family Agriculture Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), another national advocacy group for Black farmers, also joined PETA in writing to the USDA and agricultural checkoff boards.

“Many farmers in today’s economy are struggling. They don’t need barbaric tests on animals to sell their agricultural commodities. Rather, they need economic relief from inflated assessment fees that are wasted on worthless experiments on animals. We are firmly against taxing farmers to fund needless and senseless animal tests.”

—Jillian Hishaw, Esq. LL.M (Agricultural Law), Founding Director, F.A.R.M.S.

Victory! After Pressure From PETA, Hass Avocado Board Bans Animal Testing

January 28, 2021

After hearing from PETA and more than 85,000 compassionate supporters, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB)—one of the major agricultural commodity research and promotion (R&P) boards that’s overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture—has adopted a new public policy stating that it “does not support, fund, or conduct animal research.” HAB previously sponsored experiments on animals in a purported attempt to make dubious health claims for marketing avocados to consumers. For instance, HAB funded an experiment in which mice were repeatedly force-fed an avocado ingredient, starved for eight hours, injected with glucose and insulin, bled from their tails, killed by suffocation, and then drained of their blood and dissected. It’s time that all the agricultural commodity R&P boards followed HAB’s lead to focus exclusively on human-relevant research.

Rep. Dina Titus Joins PETA to Fight Fees Farmers Must Pay for Animal Tests

October 26, 2020

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada urged then-Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to provide a timeline for ending the use of mandatory annual fees paid by farmers to fund “cruel and inefficient” animal experiments commissioned by agricultural commodity research and promotion (R&P) boards, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees. Regarding these tests—which are purportedly funded to make dubious human health claims about blueberries, watermelons, and other common foods—Titus writes in her letter to Perdue, “In light of the incongruity between the cruelty of these experiments and the commodities at study, the R&P boards should instead look to utilize new, innovative research technologies instead of wasting farmers’ dollars on painful and ineffective animal experimentation.”

Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and educates the public on those issues. PETA does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind