You are probably aware of the trade in dog and cat meat in some Asian countries and advocate efforts by animal welfare organizations to end this, but if you are a taxpayer in the United States, you may not know that you may have contributed to finance this trade.
According to a new report from the White Coast Waste Project (WCW), a former US Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian and researcher Dr. Jim Keen, the USDA has bought dead cats from these markets – and then fed their brains, heart and tongue to live healthy kittens in a laboratory in Maryland from 2003 to 2015.
That's not all: the USDA also bought dead dogs from animal shelters in Brazil and fed their body parts with the kittens.
The purpose of this "kitten cannibalism" – which Justin Goodman, the vice president of the WCW for advocacy and public order, rightly called – was to study the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasite is a major cause of death from foodborne diseases in the United States. People can also become infected with it after they accidentally swallow cat excrement.
People with a healthy immune system rarely experience symptoms of the disease. That is why the USDA study makes no sense.
Human bodies are of course not the same as those of cats and most people (hopefully) do not get infected with toxoplasmosis after eating body parts of dogs and cats. Moreover, as Goodman and Keen argue, it is unnecessary to infect and kill kittens because scientists can work with samples that they have already collected.
Goodman said this "useless" experiment "emphasizes the troubling lack of responsibility and transparency" at the USDA. Although the study would have ended five years ago due to that lack of transparency, Goodman said it could still happen.
Keen, who left the USDA in 2015 after exposing the abuse of cattle and is now a volunteer at the WCW, discovered this study when he looked through investigative papers from the USDA and its subsidiaries. "We just thought we would find routine experiments," he told the Washington Post. "We never knew this other stuff was going on."
He told NBC News that he did not see the logic.
Along with "kitten cannibalism," US taxpayers are funding other cruel tests conducted on cats at the Animal Parasitic Disease Laboratory of the USDA Agricultural Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. According to NBC News, the laboratory uses cats because they are the only host animal that can produce parasitic eggs. At least 3000 cats have suffered and died in these laboratory experiments that began in 1982.
Researchers breed kittens in the lab and then force them to eat raw meat contaminated with the parasite T. Gondii. After scientists have harvested the parasitic eggs from the kittens' droppings for use in other experiments, they euthanize the kittens and burn their bodies instead of treating and exporting them.
KITTEN Act would end these terrible tests
To stop these tests, Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) And Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) Again the KITTEN (Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now) law for Congress. "The USDA's decision to slaughter kittens after being used in research is an archaic practice and a horrible treatment, and we have to put an end to it," Merkley said in a press release.
DEEPLY disturbing that @USDA has bought cats and dogs from notoriously inhumane meat markets in Asia, and then fed the meat to animals on which they are experimenting. We can promote scientific discovery by treating animals in a humane way – we have the #KITTENAct NOW. https://t.co/0WylYLtcHk
– Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) March 19, 2019
The 2018 Farm Bill that passed Congress last year was the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act, which banned the slaughter, trade and import / export of dogs and cats for human consumption in the United States. That the USDA supported that overseas trade should hopefully make the KITTEN Act a no-brainer.
As the Goodman of the WCW put it, the gruesome cat experiments of the USDA should be relegated to the litter box of history & # 39 ;.
- Join more than 270,000 people who have signed this petition and tell the USDA to stop killing kittens.
- Sign this petition and urge Congress to extend the KITTEN law to put an end to this cruel practice once and for all.
Making a Care2 petition is easy. If you have a problem that you care about so much, why don't you start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to get you started and soon the Care2 community will sign up to support you.
Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos