The US government has been experimenting with 'cat cannibalism'
Jim Keen: Cannibal cats, cats eating dogs – I don't see the logic
According to a White Coat Waste Project report, US government scientists bought hundreds of dead cats and dogs from meat markets in China and fed their remains to lab cats for toxoplasmosis research.
The WCW is a non-profit organisation devoted to eliminating wasteful spending on animal testing.
Some of the publications detailed feeding tissue from cat hearts, brains and tongues to other cats.
Others involved feeding the same parts of dogs to the lab cats, and in some cases, injecting the tissue from the infected cats into mice.
The experiments were carried out at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s Animal Parasitic Disease Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.
Jim Keen, co-author of the report and former USDA scientist during an interview with NBC News said: “It’s crazy.
“Cannibal cats, cats eating dogs – I don't see the logic.”
The USDA and the ARS have conducted toxoplasmosis-related experiments on cats since 1982, the report notes.
However, the WCW concludes that these experiments are unnecessary and unjustifiable as much of the toxoplasmosis research is irrelevant to American public health.
Justin Goodman, the vice president for advocacy and public policy at the White Coat Waste Project said: “That the USDA could, for over a decade, use taxpayers;’ money to go around the world rounding up hundreds of kittens and puppies, killing them, and feeding their brains to cats for useless experiments highlights the disturbing lack of accountability and transparency at the agency.”
Cats have historically been used for toxoplasmosis experiments because they are the only host animal in which T. gondii can complete its life cycle.
A study published in 2012 has found that we can detect the parasite without cats.
DEEPLY disturbing that @USDA has been purchasing cats and dogs from notoriously inhumane meat markets in Asia, then feeding the meat to animals they're experimenting on. We can advance scientific discovery while treating animals humanely -- we need the #KITTENAct NOW. https://t.co/0WylYLtcHk
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) March 19, 2019
Jeff Merkley, senator for Oregon on Twitter said: “DEEPLY disturbing that USDA has been purchasing cats and dogs from notoriously inhumane meat markets in Asian, then feeding the meat to animals they’re experimenting on.
“We can advance scientific discovery while treating animals humanely – we need the #KITTENAct NOW.”
This is horrific. Congress must prevent government agencies from wasting taxpayer dollars to conduct cruel experiments on animals. I'll continue to lead this fight and support legislation to put an end to this kind of grotesque abuse. https://t.co/Eo8Pnyo2Sq
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) March 19, 2019
Dina Titus, the US Representative for Nevada’s 1st congressional district described this action as “horrific”.
She said on Twitter: “This is horrific. Congress must prevent government agencies from wasting taxpayer dollars to conduct cruel experiments on animals.
“I’ll continue to lead this fight and support legislation to put an end to this kind of grotesque abuse.”
The WCW also revealed that almost 4,000 cats have been killed since this experiment began, and these experiments have cost taxpayers about $22m (£16.7m).