This Tuesday, the Agriculture Department announced that it would be putting an end to their controversial research program that has caused the death of thousands of cats.
Since 1982, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Research Services lab had been infecting kittens with parasites in their research of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. According to the department's scientists, the parasite “causes toxoplasmosis, a disease considered to be a leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the United States.”
In the USDA’s official statement, it said, “toxoplasmosis research has been redirected and the use of cats as part of any research protocol in any ARS laboratory has been discontinued and will not be reinstated."
The experiments– dubbed “kitten cannibalism” by the community– had been receiving growing opposition by the public, especially after a report by the White Coat Waste Project, which surfaced only recently, found that USDA scientists had been forcing the cats to eat dog and cat meat sourced from overseas.
The nonprofit White Coat Waste Project (authors of the “USDA Kitten Cannibalism” study mentioned above) had been strongly opposed to the USDA’s gruesome experiments for a very long time. The nonprofit refers to the project details as “$22 million in taxes and 50 years of wasteful government spending,” having also created a dedicated page (titled “Call for Cats”) on their website which urged visitors to call the USDA to complain about its experiments on kittens.
Rep. Jimmy Panetta, who co-sponsored the House version of the Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act of 2019 (KITTEN Act), praised the USDA’s decision to end their research practices. “I commend the USDA for their decision to end this type of testing on kittens. They listened to the people and responded appropriately to our concerns. This is how our institutions, our government, and our democracy should and must work,” said Rep. Panetta. Rep. Brian Mast, the lead co-sponsor of the KITTEN Act, said, “This is a decisive victory against government animal abuse and wasteful spending.”
The USDA claims that it is currently in the process of putting the remaining 14 uninfected cats up for adoption by qualified USDA employees and in accordance with regulatory guidelines.