Kittens in Congress: A Bipartisan Effort to End USDA Testing

Yesterday, Rep. Mike Bishop of Michigan held an event in support of his bill, the KITTEN Act of 2018, which calls for the USDA to end the use of cats in experiments that cause pain or stress.
Amanda Carrozza
Published: June 08, 2018
Yesterday, Capitol Hill had some adorable visitors: a group of 8-week-old kittens. But their visit wasn’t just to delight lawmakers — which they did — but rather to raise awareness about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ongoing animal testing.

For more than 50 years, the department has allegedly bred 100 kittens each year, fed them Toxoplasma-infected raw meat for two weeks and then killed them by incineration. This is according to U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Michigan, who last month sent a letter to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expressing concerns about what he referred to as the USDA “unnecessarily killing hundreds of kittens in expensive and inefficient lab experiments.”

Since writing the letter, and receiving widespread support, Bishop, a Republican, has co-sponsored H.R. 5780 — or the more appropriately titled KITTEN (Kittens In Traumatic Testing Ends Now) Act of 2018 — with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, a California Democrat. The bill demands the “end the use of cats in experiments that cause pain or stress." 

The bill was formally introduced into the House on May 11 and referred to the House Committee on Agriculture. As of yesterday, the KITTEN Act has amassed 19 additional co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

“It appears this project uses kittens as test tubes,” Bishop wrote in his original letter. “Put simply, it creates life to destroy life. While I support the objective of making food safer and protecting people and animals from infectious disease, we must ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively, efficiently and humanely.”

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