A US government agency that infected cats with a parasite for agricultural research and then slaughtered them has agreed to stop after a public outcry.
The controversial research, funded by taxpayers, involved feeding months-old kittens meat infected with toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can be harmful to humans with weak immune systems.
The parasite-ridden kittens were then killed after completion of the tests, amounting to several thousand deaths since the testing began in 1982.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said “after hearing the feedback” the use for cats in any research capacity had been “discontinued and will not be reinstated”.
USDA employees are in the process of adopting the facility’s 14 remaining uninfected cats, the statement continued, while the toxoplasma gondii research has been directed elsewhere.
“We are continually assessing our research and priorities and aligning our resources to the problems of highest national priority,” Dr Chavonda Jacobs-Young said.
“We are excited for the next chapter of work for these scientists and this laboratory.”
Today is a good day for our four-legged friends across America! After recent action from our bipartisan #KITTENAct coalition, the @USDA announced today they are ending their experiments that kill kittens. Thank you to everyone who urged the USDA to end this horrific practice. pic.twitter.com/4P82d6qAzE
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) April 2, 2019
The decision to halt the feline testing came just a month after US politicians introduced the Kitten Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at ending the use of cats in such “cruel” experiments.
Jeff Merkley, a US senator and co-author of the Kitten Act, applauded USDA’s announcement on Tuesday.
“The USDA’s decision to slaughter kittens after they were used in research was an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and it’s past time to end it,” he said.
“It’s a good day for our four-legged friends in America.”
Source: SKY NEWS