Emily Merrell | United States
On Tuesday, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that they will end the research program that resulted in the death of thousands of cats in the last few decades.
Since 1982, the Agricultural Research Division of the USDA has been infecting cats with Toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by eating undercooked meat) to study food-borne illnesses. When the parasites harvested within the cats, they would then put the animal down.
During the announcement of the USDA’s decision, they stated, “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 USDA also mentioned that they will be putting the remaining uninfected cats up for adoption.
Earning the name “Kitten Cannibalism”, the USDA experimented with cats eating cat and dog meat from foreign countries to understand parasitic disease in these animals. Justin Goodman of the White Coat Waste Project told NPR, “We are elated that after a year of campaigning we have relegated the slaughter of kittens to the litter box of history.”
The White Coat Waste Project became a key player in eradicating this policy after it reported how the USDA tested on these cats. Many politicians, such as Representatives Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), created the bill “Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act of 2018” (KITTEN Act) to help end the horrible testing these cats have had to go through. The Senate introduced the bill through Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
Animal rights activists and politicians who have fought against “Kitten Cannibalism” are rejoicing this decision from the USDA to end the decades of feline testing.
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