In response to growing backlash, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will cease using cats as subjects in laboratory research, according to CNBC. The USDA has used kittens and cats in experiments funded by taxpayers to research deadly foodborne illnesses in humans. The USDA's studies included feeding cats with dog and cat meat from "Asian meat markets," NBC News reported on March 19.
A bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress last month to end the practice.
In a statement earlier today, the USDA announced that the Agricultural Research Service's “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.” There was no mention of experiments on dogs in the press release.
“I commend the USDA for their decision to end this type of testing on kittens,” said Democrat and California Representative Jimmy Panetta, who authored the House variation of the 2019 Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now (KITTEN) Act. “They listened to the people and responded appropriately to our concerns. This is how our institutions, our government, and our democracy should and must work.”
Backers noted last month that the USDA's practices involved “hundreds of kittens bred, fed parasite-infected raw meat, and then killed annually.”