Maryland stops blocking bus ads protesting killing of USDA research kittens

Maryland stops blocking bus ads protesting killing of USDA research kittens. (ABC7)

7 On Your Side first told you about the lawsuit back in September filed by White Coat Waste Project against the State of Maryland. The D.C. based taxpayer's watchdog group got a big fat no in the fall on its request to place these anti-kitten experiment ads on sides of buses and trains.

Congress is also stepping up pressure on the USDA. This week the Senate version of the Kitten Act 2018 was introduced. It's similar to one already pending in the House, pushing to end any experiments that unnecessarily hurt lab animals.

Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley announced the introduction of the Kittens In Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act, or KITTEN Act, which would end the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) practice of killing kittens after they’re used in agency testing. (See full text of KITTEN Act below)

“In this testing, kittens are fed raw meat infected with parasites, which grow in the kittens and are later harvested for study. But instead of being treated after the study, the kittens are then killed. This is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it,” 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.”

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.

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. A House version of the bill (H.R. 5780) was introduced in June by Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI-08) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), and has 60 other bipartisan cosponsors—46 Democrats and 15 Republicans—including Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Peter DeFazio.

"This is a major win for anybody who cares about free speech, government waste and animal protection,” says Justin Goodman, Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy at White Coat Waste Project.

The USDA lab in Beltsville, Maryland has bred thousands of kittens since the 70's in order to feed them parasite-infected raw meat. Feces is collected to harvest parasitic eggs for use in experiments. The kittens are then euthanized. The USDA says no adoptions take place because the kittens could be reinfected. Animal rights groups want the kittens to be adopted out and also say re-infection is rare and can be treated.

The settlement states the ads will now be placed on MARC trains and RTA buses. (See settlement below)

"These ads will appear on buses and trains serving that area so people will know what's happening in their backyards,” adds Goodman.

If the Kitten Act is passed there are already several animal rights group willing to take on the adopting out of all the kittens including White Coats and NEAVS.

Kittens In Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act:

Settlement of Kitten Bus Ads:

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