In a nightmare scenario for animal and cat lovers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is allegedly killing hundreds of healthy kittens after they are used for studies. The number could be as large as 100 kittens a year, for a period of time that is still unknown. Michigan Congressman Mike Bishop is raising questions about the Agriculture test lab in Prince George’s County, where the experiments are supposedly taking place. The kittens are not only killed by the USDA but also bred by them too for use in experiments. This practice was first uncovered by the White Coat Waste Project, according to CBN News.
The study in question is called “Toxoplasmosis in cats,” where kittens are fed parasite-infected raw meat for two to three weeks when they reach around two months old. The kittens’ feces are collected in order to find the parasites. These parasites are studied in order for researchers to better understand toxoplasmosis, which can affect humans and unborn babies in the womb. Although the USDA said the kittens are healthy at the end of the study, they’ve been “killed by incineration,” reported Fox 5 DC News. The kittens are killed before they’re three months old.
Bishop wrote a letter to Secretary Perdue at the USDA and asked many pertinent questions about the kitten breeding program. He wants to know when the program was approved, how much money has been spent on the program, and how many cats and kittens have been killed in the lifetime of the project. Preliminary information shows that this type of kitten breeding and experimentation may have been taking place since 1982.
Moreover, Bishop asked how much pain and distress the kittens experience as a result of the project, why they are killed instead of given up for adoption since toxoplasmosis is easily curable with antibiotics, and what the researchers have done in order to find an alternative way to recreate toxoplasma oocysts other than by using kittens.
Bishop’s shock and disgust are likely to be echoed by many. He cuts to the chase in the letter and reiterates the importance of using taxpayer dollars in a responsible manner.
“I understand that currently cats are the only animals in which toxoplasma oocysts can be produced, however, it appears that this project uses kittens as test tubes. Put simply, it creates life to destroy life.”
The project is due to be renewed again in late May 2018. Previously, it has been renewed without problem for decades without being questioned.
The USDA Agricultural Research Service provided a statement to CBN News, in which it said that the study is important because of the implications of toxoplasmosis in humans. The symptoms of toxoplasmosis can include mental retardation and blindness and said that their efforts have diminished the disease by 50% in U.S. and Europe.