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New Maryland law could help USDA lab kittens survive after thousands were euthanized

(Video, ABC7)

A USDA lab in Beltsville, Maryland, has been euthanizing thousands of kittens and cats for over 40 years even though the USDA admits the animals are healthy after undergoing experiments related to food-borne illnesses. The feds believe the kittens could become re-infected and pose a health risk to adoptive families.

Animal advocate groups and veterinarians including ABC7's Dr. Katy Nelson say reinfection is rare and can be handled with antibodies.

The New England Anti-Vivisection Society, an animal rights group, says the USDA is in violation of a new Maryland law that requires research facilities to make a good faith effort to adopt out dogs and cats after experiments wrap up.

“We want to offer them that better option. Now it's the law. We are pretty sure they will want to comply with that law and respect the will of Maryland voters,” says Mike Ryan, Director of Government Relations with the New England Anti-Vivisection Society.

Maryland State Delegate Ben Kramer from Montgomery County sponsored the Humane Adoption Of Companion Animals Used in Research Act. He believes the state law applies to the USDA.

"There are waiting lists of individuals who want to specifically adopt a former lab dog or cat and help foster them and get them to know what love is about and get them acclimated to a loving home,” says Maryland Delegate Ben Kramer, (D) District 19

NEAVS just sent this letter to USDA stating it finds no compelling reason why the USDA should consider it exempt from the Maryland law.

The Kitten Act 2018 is still in Congress that puts an end to experiments on kittens and the new funding bill for the USDA which includes wording requiring the USDA to explore adoptions for the kittens is expected to be passed by Congress by the end of the year.

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