Kittens were deliberately infected with a parasite in a USDA lab. The kitten shown here was NOT used in these experiments.
The title of the report says it all: "USDA Kitten Cannibalism". It seems hard to believe, but a research by a non-profit watchdog group shows that the US government has bought hundreds of cats and dogs for stomach-busting research projects ̵
The investigation was conducted At the USDA's Agricultural Research Institute of the USA in Beltsville, Maryland, the remains of euthanized "meat market animals" were fed to healthy laboratory cats and mice were injected with the remnants of parasitized cats , NBC News announced an early copy of the report released today (March 19) by The White Coat Waste Project, a group aimed at ending wasteful animal experiments.
According to NBC News, the investigation found that more than 400 dogs from Colombia, Brazil and Vietnam as well as 100 cats from China and Ethiopia were euthanized for laboratory nutrition.
Apparently, the lab also breeds kittens to study parasites [1 9459011] Toxoplasma gondii ; Cats are the only host animal for the eggs of the parasite. These cats received brain or muscle tissue from intentionally infected cats. That month, lawmakers announced that they would introduce legislation to prevent the lab from infecting cats with the parasite and then euthanize and burn those cats after the researchers collected the parasites from the animals' feces, such as is described in another NBC News report.
The parasit T. gondii causes toxoplasmosis, which is the leading cause of death in the United States due to food-borne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); According to the CDC, humans may become infected after ingesting feces contaminated with infected cat feces or consumed meat from animals carrying cysts of the parasite in their tissues.
Although the lab's research has made some discoveries related to toxoplasmosis, Coke Jim Keen, a former USDA scientist, says the lab has not posted major breakthroughs in this area for 20 years, he told NBC News , (In 2015, Keen whistled the USDA's maltreatment of cattle in Nebraska.)
Here are some details from the report:  42 cats purchased in China were killed, and their hearts and tongues were shipped to the USDA lab and injection in mice.
Originally published on Live Science .