USDA photos were obtained through the FOIA request / white coat waste project
The US Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday that he had put an end to the controversial research program that has forced scientists to kill thousands of cats for decades. Since 1982, the Department of Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture has been conducting experiments that included cats infected with toxoplasmosis, an illness commonly caused by low-grade foods for studying foodborne illness. After the cats were infected and the parasite was collected, the kittens were suppressed.
In a statement announcing this decision, the agency stated that "the study of toxoplasmosis was redirected, and the use of cats as part of any research protocol in any ARS lab was discontinued and will not be restored."
In addition, the Department of Agriculture of the United States reported that in the process of adoption of 14 people who remained uninfected, they can be adopted by agency staff.
Experiments have been increasingly focused over the past year, and public protests have intensified over the past weeks after the White Coat Waste Design Report, which found that USDA researchers also forced laboratory cats to eat mice of dogs and cats , obtained in foreign markets.
The purpose of this seemingly horrible practice, which critics called "cannibalism kitten," was to understand how common the parasitic disease of animals around the world is, Justin Goodman, vice president of the White Coat project, which is working on the completion of animal testing, reports NPR.
"We are delighted with the fact that, after a year of campaigning, we carried the slaughter of kittens to a history box," Goodman said.
He said that the organization received details of the agency's active protocols through the Freedom of Information request, which describes in details how USDA multiplies 100 kittens a year in the Maryland lab. "
"In eight weeks, [scientists] will feed them with infected mice, collect parasitic eggs from their feces to be used in other experiments and then kill them," Goodman said.
He calculated that that more than 3,000 cats have been killed since the launch of a research program at a cost of about $ 22 million for taxpayers.
"Kittens become immune after two weeks and so far the USDA has burned them," Goodman said.
Kim Kaplan, press Secretary of the USDA, told the NPR that in the period from 2013 to 2018 kittens were killed euthanasia, added Shi that the laboratory stopped infecting cats in September.
The report of the non-profit group drew much attention to the controversial program and led to bipartisan legislation prohibiting animal testing at the USDA. In May, representatives of Mike Bishop, R-Mich. And Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., Introduced a bill called "Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ending the 2018 Act," also known as the KITTEN Act to stop the USDA from using cats and kittens in experiments. In December of this year, the Senate issued a version of the bill introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
"Today USDA has made the right decision and I applaud them for being ready to change the course," Merkley said. in the statement. "This is a good day for our four-legged friends across America," he said, adding that past times, "archaic practice and terrible treatment" have been stopped.
Panetta responded to the announcement, saying: "I am expressing the view of the US Department of Agriculture that they have decided to stop this type of testing for kittens, listening to people and answering our concerns, so our institutions, our government and our democracy must and must work. "
" With all the terrible reports that came out, it was clear that the Americans opposed the cruel USDA testing of kittens, a decisive victory against the abusive use of animal welfare and wasteful spending by R-Fla. Another cosson of the law that House, said on Wednesday.
Mast also thanked the Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue "for his leadership in providing no more kittens ever used in research and that the last cats remaining in USDA can be taken."
According to the USDA, his research helped to reduce the prevalence of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite by as much as 50% in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 40 million Americans may be infected with parasites. Although the vast majority of infected people have no symptoms, it can be fatal for people with a weak immune system such as children and patients with HIV.
The US Department of Agriculture reported that "it constantly evaluates our research and priorities and brings our resources to the challenges of the highest national priority."
"In the course of this study, [the Agricultural Research Service] worked to minimize addiction to cats," said the USDA.
In November, an Independent Advisory Board advised the USDA that the risk to human health was too high to allow infected cats to be placed for adoption. That same group recommended that cats that have never been infected should be available for adoption.