A congressman from Florida helped end the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) painful experiments on cats.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., announced last month that he was the main cosponsor of U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s, D-Calif., “Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now (KITTEN) Act” which “directs the Secretary of Agriculture to end the use of cats in experiments that cause pain or stress.”
“Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) performs parasite-related experiments on cats and kittens. This taxpayer-funded testing results in thousands of kittens bred, fed parasite-infected raw meat and then killed,” Mast’s office noted.
“The fact that we need a piece of legislation to tell the federal government to stop killing kittens is ridiculous on its face, but 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,” Mast said. “These tests are just awful, abusive and unnecessary, not to mention a serious misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars. This needs to stop now.”
The White Coat Waste Project, a taxpayer watchdog group, was behind the bill.
“Three thousand kittens killed and $22 million squandered for decades of cruel and unproductive USDA experiments is tragic whether you care about government waste, animal protection or both. Like a majority of Americans, our two-million-plus members want this nightmarish program ended and we applaud Congressman Mast for leading the charge to shut down the USDA’s taxpayer-funded kitten abuse,” said Noelle Callahan, White Coat Waste Project’s public policy manager.
The USDA announced this week that “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.”
According to Mast’s office, White Coast Waste Project “uncovered that the work included buying cats from Asian meat markets and then having them euthanized and fed to healthy cats” and the “14 remaining cats that they have at the facility are in the process of being adopted by USDA employees.”
Mast weighed in on the USDA ending the project on Tuesday.
“With all the awful reports coming out, it was clear that Americans opposed USDA’s cruel testing on kittens. This is a decisive victory against government animal abuse and wasteful spending. We’ve worked closely with advocates and scientists to stop the USDA’s abuse and I am grateful to Secretary Perdue for his leadership in ensuring no more kittens are ever used in research and that the last cats remaining at USDA can be adopted. Now, other agencies need to follow suit and put a permanent end to abusive and painful animal testing,” Mast said.
Mast noted the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to experiment on dogs and he vowed to continue the effort against those experiments.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.