Farm animals used in federal experiments to help the meat industry would receive new protections against mistreatment and neglect under legislation introduced on Thursday by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both houses of Congress.  The bill aims to extend the federal Animal Welfare Act to shield cows, pigs, sheep and other animals used for agricultural research at federal facilities, including the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., a unit of the Department of Agriculture. The act, which became law in 1966, excluded those animals, focusing largely on cats and dogs used in laboratory research.

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