KITTEN Act an Important Step to End Taxpayer-Funded Kitten Slaughter
This week, Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ohio, and Representative Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Kittens In Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act, or KITTEN Act, which would end the U.S. Department of Agriculture practice of killing kittens after they’re used in agency testing.
Since 1970, the USDA has spent $650,000 each year to infect and later kill kittens in its Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. The lab breeds up to 100 kittens per year. Once they’re 2 months old, the kittens are fed parasite-infected raw meat. Their feces are then collected and parasitic eggs are harvested for use in other experiments. Once the eggs are collected, the 3-month-old kittens are killed and incinerated—even though the kittens could easily be treated and adopted out.
“The USDA’s decision to slaughter kittens after they are used in research is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it,” Senator Merkley said. “The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing, and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead.”
“This common sense, bipartisan bill will require the USDA to adhere to the same animal welfare standards that the department is charged to uphold,” Representative 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 kittens or killing them after they are used in agency testing. I hope this bill helps us get closer to ending this cruel practice.”
The Centers for Disease Control, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges say that these kittens are safe to have as pets. That’s why Merkley secured language in the Senate Appropriations Committee agricultural bill that urges USDA to consider alternative testing methods to infecting and killing kittens.
“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 Senator Merkley for his outstanding leadership to end the USDA’s taxpayer-funded kitten slaughter,” said Noelle Callahan, public policy manager at taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.
“The USDA’s archaic kitten experiments are out of step with 21st century research practices and animal welfare recommendations. Continuing to breed and kill perfectly healthy kittens for toxoplasmosis research is unethical and unnecessary, and I’m grateful to Senator Merkley for introducing the KITTEN Act to stop it once and for all,” said Hannah Shaw, a guest expert for Animal Planet, and founder of animal advocacy project, Kitten Lady.
The KITTEN Act would fully protect these kittens by requiring that the Secretary of Agriculture end the use of kittens and cats in any USDA experiments that unnecessarily hurts the animals. It is supported by a wide range of Senate and House cosponsors, including Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., and a bipartisan group of more than 20 members of Congress.
In The News
In The News
WASHINGTON – The House passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in the wee hours of Saturday morning, helping President Joe Biden clear the first hurdle in passing an economic stimulus bill that includes $1,400 in direct payments to U.S. households, an extension of federal supplements... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration has relaxed the rules around storage and transportation for some coronavirus vaccines in order to speed up the vaccine rollout. Frozen vials of Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine will be allowed to be kept at "conventional temperatures" found in pharmaceutical freezers... Read More
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday imposed sanctions on Saudi Arabia’s former deputy head of Intelligence and the nation’s “Rapid Intervention Force” for their roles in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The move came just hours after the Biden Administration released... Read More
WASHINGTON — COVID has taken a toll on student learning and wellbeing, but a coalition of community schools advocates believes they have the answer to correcting academic learning loss and supporting the holistic development of young people. They say their next-generation community schooling lays the foundation... Read More
DES MOINES, Iowa - Residents of Iowa will have to wait until next week to learn if dramatic changes are going to be made to how they participate in future elections. Earlier this week, both houses of the State Legislature voted along party lines with their... Read More
BOISE, Idaho – To the outsider, it seems like a movie that has a bizarre twist just as the heroine should be taking her victory lap. Lauren Stein McLean, an entrepreneur who had served on Boise, Idaho’s city council for nearly a decade, and served as... Read More