PETA to USDA: End Draconian ‘Tax’ on Farmers for Missouri-Based United Soybean Board

Group Urges Agency to Stop Tests by Missouri-Based United Soybean Board and Others, Which Poison Starve, and Kill Thousands of Animals

For Immediate Release:
September 8, 2020

Amanda Tumbleson 202-483-7382

St. Louis

This morning, PETA sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging him to prohibit what amounts to an exorbitant “tax” on farmers, who must pay hundreds of millions in annual fees to agricultural commodity research and promotion boards (known as “checkoffs”). Some of these funds are used for deadly animal tests, sponsored by the Chesterfield-based United Soybean Board (USB) and others, for marketing fruits and vegetables.

PETA’s letter notes that many of the 21 agricultural commodity boards, including the USB, are overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and fund these animal experiments. Some of the USB’s sponsored animal tests include the following:

  • Experimenters repeatedly force-fed genetically modified mice who were prone to diabetes a soy ingredient, injected them with cancer cells, starved them for 15 hours, injected them with glucose and insulin, repeatedly took their blood, and then suffocated and dissected them.
  • They fed genetically modified mice who were prone to cystic fibrosis a soy ingredient or a laxative and then killed and dissected them. Forty-nine animals died from the disease before experimenters were able to kill them.
  • They repeatedly injected a soy ingredient into mice whose ovaries had been removed and then suffocated and dissected them.

These tests on animals are neither relevant to humans nor required by law. More than 2,600 mice, rats, and pigs were used in tests funded by the checkoff programs and published between 2015 and 2019. The Government Accountability Office reports that in 2016, assessment fees for agricultural commodity producers, handlers, processors, importers, or others totaled over $885 million.

PETA points out that these agricultural products—including blueberries, mushrooms, and watermelons—are commonplace foods with a long history of safe human consumption. Researchers could have instead pursued safe and effective human studies, which would yield human-relevant results.

After discussions with PETA, dozens of major food and beverage manufacturers—including PepsiCo, the Kellogg Company, and Barilla—have established policies against animal testing.

“Forcing American farmers to pay what amounts to a draconian ‘tax’ to fund barbaric, lethal animal experiments for marketing agricultural products is cruel and doesn’t advance human health,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is urging the USDA to cut wasteful spending on misguided animal tests and instead require agricultural commodity boards to use superior, non-animal research methods.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or click here.

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