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Paws off these cats: US legislation seeks to stop government ‘slaughter’ of kittens

The USDA has been breeding kittens and infecting them with a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis, a food-borne illness. Scientists harvest the parasites from their stool, and then euthanize and incinerate the cats.

DAREH GREGORIAN: ‘A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce legislation on Thursday to prevent the Department of Agriculture from continuing deadly experiments on kittens. “The USDA’s decision to slaughter kittens after they are used in research is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the Senate bill’s lead sponsor, said in a statement to NBC News. The agency has been breeding kittens in Beltsville, Maryland, and infecting them with a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis, a foodborne illness. Scientists harvest the parasites from their stool for two to three weeks, and then euthanize and incinerate the cats… Lawmakers are calling the bill the Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now — or KITTEN — Act…

The agency has said animal rights advocates’ claim that it has been experimenting on 100 cats annually is overblown, but a USDA administrator told Congress last year that “2,988 cats have been used in these research efforts that began in 1982”, The bills are being championed by the watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, which has run an advertisement campaign against the experiments in Maryland. The group’s vice president of advocacy and public policy, Justin Goodman, said its members “want this horrific program relegated to the litter box of history.” “Three-thousand healthy kittens killed and $22 million wasted on decades of cruel and unproductive government experiments should alarm budget hawks and advocates alike,” Goodman said…

“The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing, and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead,” said Merkley, who earlier this week announced he would not be running for president. “The fact that we need a piece of legislation to tell the federal government to stop killing kittens is ridiculous on its face,” said Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who is co-sponsoring California Democrat Jimmy Panetta’s version of the bill in the House. “(B)ut what’s even worse is, when you hear the details that the government is actually breeding hundreds of these cats just to intentionally feed them parasite-ridden raw meat and then kill them even though they’re perfectly healthy”.’  SOURCE…

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