Why Are Taxpayers Paying for Cows and Calves to Be Beaten and Burned?

Posted on by Abigail Forsyth

Hell is a place on Earth for the cows at Ibaraki Prefectural Livestock Research Center (IPLRC)—a publicly funded operation in Japan that uses cows as research subjects for the Wagyu beef and dairy industries.

New video footage shows workers twisting fiery-hot irons into calves’ heads, violently kicking and slapping cows, prodding animals with metal tools, and more. Of course, compassionate people are outraged that their money is being used to fund abuse like this. IPLRC received over 900 million yen (US$6.9 million) in one year from taxpayers and public funding, according to the most recent available data. So PETA sent a complaint to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries asking that it cut off funding to IPLRC and a request to Ibaraki Prefecture to internally audit funds that support cruelty to animals. We are also urging the public to switch to vegan meat products and plant-based milk, as ditching meat and dairy would divert funds away from this hellish breeding center.


A whistleblower recorded shocking footage over three months in 2022, allowing the world to see what happens in the Japanese meat and dairy industries. The graphic recordings show workers plunging a smoking iron into a calf’s head to remove horn tissue as the animal cries out, eyes wide open in apparent terror, and struggles under the weight of workers crushing their neck and face.

Footage also shows another disbudded calf, who appears to defecate, likely as a result of fear, while multiple men sit atop the suffering animal. In another case, workers punch cows on the side, kick them in the head, slap them on the head, and stomp on their legs and back. And in another incident, workers hit cows with wooden sticks on their sensitive udders and faces in an apparent attempt to make them move.

Given the chance, cows are nurturing parents who create meaningful relationships with family and friends. But most cows raised for the meat and dairy industries are intensively confined, leaving them unable to fulfill their most basic desires, such as nursing their calves, who are forcibly separated from their mothers in the livestock industry. Cows are born with tissue that will develop into horns, but many farmers remove the sensitive horn tissue or the horns themselves from cows’ skulls using hot irons, caustic chemicals, sharp metal scoops, blades, or handsaws. The procedures are usually done without painkillers.

The meat and dairy industries will continue to exploit cows for their flesh and milk, and centers like IPLRC will continue to force cows to be research subjects—unless we do something about it. The surest way to help spare these animals pain and suffering is to go vegan today.

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