A report from a nonprofit watchdog that aims to end wasteful animal testing claims the U.S. government conducted stomach-churning experiments on cats.
Remains Of Euthanized Animals Used As Lab Food
In its report released on March 19, the White Coat Waste Project said researchers at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service's Animal Parasitic Disease Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, conducted experiments that fed the remains of euthanized "meat market" dogs and cats to healthy lab cats.
More than 400 dogs from Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam and more than 100 cats from China and Ethiopia were reportedly euthanized to become lab food. The report said the cats and dogs were killed, and their tongues, brains, and hearts were fed to cats in the USDA lab.
The WCW said some of the animals were bought from the same Asian meat market that the U.S. congress has condemned in a House resolution last year.
"The details of these kitten experiments keep getting worse and they need to end now," said Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who co-sponsored a legislation aimed at stopping cat killings.
"The fact that the USDA has been rounding up pets and other innocent dogs and cats in foreign countries — including at Chinese meat markets condemned by Congress — killing them and feeding them to lab cats back here in the States is simply disgusting and unjustifiable."
The experiments are believed to have taken place as recently as 2015. They were supposedly aimed at studying toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that causes foodborne illness.
Toxoplasmosis results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which occurs from exposure to infected cat feces, eating undercooked contaminated meat, and mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy.
The WCW, however, said the tests were outdated and unnecessary since cats do not eat other cats. Americans neither eat cats and dogs.
"USDA kitten toxoplasmosis experimentation causes unnecessary animal pain and suffering, little or no scientific benefit, and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars as a consequence of non-competitive perpetual intramural federal funding," the report reads.
The group also raised concerns over the cats that survived the experiments. It said that instead of being put up for adoption, these months-old animals are slaughtered despite being generally healthy.