USDA Halts Deadly Kitten Experiments Using Animals from Meat Markets

Update: Two cats who were rescued from the Department of Agriculture's so-called "kitten slaughterhouse" visited the two lawmakers that were instrumental in ending this program. 

NBC News reported that Sen. Jeff Merkley, D.-Ore, and Rep. Brian Mast, R.-Fla. were visited by two cats who were spared when the government program was shut down earlier this year.

Original post published on April 3, 2019.

A deadly chapter has ended and the national fight against animal cruelty reached a major milestone. Cat lovers and animal welfare advocates across the country are celebrating! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Services lab was infecting cats with toxoplasmosis and then euthanizing them since 1982 as part of its effort to combat the foodborne illness.

To make matters worse, two weeks ago it was reported that U.S. government scientists bought hundreds of dogs and cats from Asian meat markets for these experiments that included feeding their remains to healthy lab cats. The animals that were being euthanized were used as lab food and included over 400 dogs from Colombia, Brazil, and Vietnam and over 100 cats from China and Ethiopia. The report given to Congress on this issue was titled USDA Kitten Cannibalism. 

NBC News reported that a statement issued by the USDA said its "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."

With that in mind, and to provide further context the number of cats being used for lab experiments is more than 19,000 cats according to PETA,

PETA tells us,

"More than 19,000 cats are abused in U.S. laboratories every year—in addition to the tens of thousands who are killed and sold to schools for cruel and crude classroom dissections." 

This is just the beginning and it's an important milestone.

Hannah Shaw, also known as The Kitten Lady and a very influential animal welfare leader, thanked Senator Jeff Merkley and Rep. Jimmy Panetta for their leadership on this issue. The team at White Coat Waste Project also worked extremely hard work on this campaign encouraging people to follow and support them in their efforts to end taxpayer-funded animal testing. 

The Kitten Lady, posted on Facebook that the USDA announced they would halt all experiments on kittens in its labs immediately, 


NBC News reported,

"Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who'd called the experiments "deeply disturbing," said the agency "made the right decision today, and I applaud them for their willingness to change course. It's a good day for our four-legged friends across America."

Cats and kittens deserve to live in loving homes! These wonderful companion animals shouldn't be in research facilities! We are forever grateful for these animal welfare acts and bills that are ending animal experimentation. The use of animals in any type of experiment is animal cruelty at its worst. Our leaders are coming together to support animal rights and cruelty-free research. If you want to support specific bills, reach out to local representatives and sign petitions against animal experiments happening near where you live.

There are many animal shelters you can visit to adopt a four-legged friend! If you have questions your local humane society is another wonderful resource.

(Staff Note: There are many cats that need rescuing but always make sure your shelter tests for feline leukemia (feline leukemia virus), and the feline immunodeficiency virus (fiv) and talk to your vet about the level of care those cats will need and if they can live with other cats).

Did you adopt a kitten or cat from a shelter? We'd love to see pictures! Please leave a comment below!

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