USDA records indicate nearly 3,000 cats and kittens have been killed at Maryland lab

USDA records indicate nearly 3,000 cats and kittens have been killed at Maryland lab (USDA)

The USDA just revealed to ABC7 News that your tax dollars have funded the raising and killing of almost 3,000 cats and kittens at a Maryland lab.

7 On Your Side I-Team Reporter Scott Taylor broke this story last month and was on Capitol Hill Thursday where Congress asked the tough questions about the long-term animal experiment that's gone on for more than three decades.

A group of eight-week-old kittens visited Capitol Hill this week. Congressional workers were able to see and play with the kittens, who would be dead if they were raised inside the USDA-funded Maryland lab.

That lab has been experimenting and killing kittens since 1982 in order to study toxoplasmosis — a food borne illness.

USDA says it’s records indicate 2,988 cats and kittens have been killed in the research since its beginning.

The taxpayers watchdog group — White Coat Waste Project — is teaming up with Hannah Shaw, D.C.'s own "The Kitten Lady," to try to stop the killing and adopt out what they claim are healthy kittens.

Shaw is a guest expert on Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell. Her work has been profiled in People Magazine and Cosmopolitan, and she is CatCon Worldwide’s 2017 Advocate of the Year.

"Toxoplasmosis is an entirely treatable condition. Give them a round of antibiotics and they are fully adoptable," said Shaw.

U.S. Congressman Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) have co-sponsored the Kitten Act to end the use of kittens in experiments.

RELATED: Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now bill

"We have introduced the bill and we are going to continue to push it. The Senate picked up the language which I am glad to see in their appropriation bill," said Bishop.

The I-Team is still waiting for the USDA to reveal how much research has been done to find an alternative to euthanizing kittens.

USDA did emailed the following to ABC7 News:

"ARS vigorously supports efforts to identify alternatives to the use of cats in this important area of research. Until one is found, passage through a cat host remains the only known method to produce oocysts needed to develop a potential life-saving vaccine to prevent toxoplasmosis, and to evaluate measures intended to remove (or render harmless) oocysts from food and water. We will continue to actively seek alternatives."

"We want more studies to be done especially with this topic. With this type of animal you want to make sure that everything is vetted," said Panetta.

The I-Team is aware that in the past five years more than 200 kittens have been killed at the lab.

Bishop and Panetta sent the letter below to USDA: attached article with this email:

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