The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it will formally end its controversial research program that has resulted in the death of thousands of cats. As NPR reported, “Since 1982 the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services division had been conducting experiments that involved infecting cats with toxoplasmosis — a disease usually caused by eating undercooked contaminated meat — in order to study the foodborne illness. Once the cats were infected and the parasite harvested, the felines were put down” The experiments came under further scrutiny in the past year and were fueled by activist groups such as the White Coat Waste Project whose recent report revealed that the felines were also forced to eat dog and cat meat obtained in overseas markets.
Also from NPR: In a statement announcing the decision, the agency said “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.”
Additionally, the USDA said it is in the process of putting the 14 remaining uninfected cats up for adoption by agency employees.