A congressman from Florida is a key backer of U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s, D-Calif., to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from continuing painful experiments on cats.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., announced this week that he is the main cosponsor of Panetta’s “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 on Thursday.
“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.”
“This common sense, bipartisan bill will require the USDA to adhere to the same animal welfare standards that the department is charged to uphold,” Panetta said. “While I strongly support scientific research, taxpayer money and federal resources should be spent on advancing scientific research in an ethical manner, not on inflicting pain on innocent kittens in outdated experiments. I hope this bill helps us get closer to ending this cruel practice.”
The White Coat Waste Project, a taxpayer watchdog group, is 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 bill was sent to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.