The USDA has announced the end of controversial research which left thousands of cats dead through the past several decades. In a release, the government agency stated that the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has discontinued the use of cats as “any part of research protocol” for toxoplasmosis studies.
ARS Administrator Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young said
Food safety research in ARS is of paramount importance for agriculture and the public we serve. We are continually assessing our research and priorities and aligning our resources to the problems of highest national priority. We are excited for the next chapter of work for these scientists and this laboratory.
The toxoplasmosis research involved purposefully infecting cats with the disease (which typically is contracted through the consumption of under-cooked and contaminated meat), and then euthanizing them after the study was completed.
The taxpayer funded studies involved feeding research bred cats body parts from felines which had been purchased at Chinese meat markets, claims an advocacy group known as the White Coat waste Project. The agency also stated that puppies which were obtained from other countries were killed and fed to the research cats.
The organization’s report about the practice led to widespread criticism of the research and calls for its end.
Read more from the USDA here.
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