Reps. Panetta, Mast, Slotkin, Hurd Introduce Legislation to End Deadly USDA Experiments on Kittens

March 7, 2019
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) led Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) in introducing the bipartisan Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act of 2019, or KITTEN Act.  The bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to end the use of cats in experiments that cause pain or stress. A companion piece of legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) performs parasite-related experiments on cats and kittens.  This taxpayer-funded testing results in hundreds of kittens bred, fed parasite-infected raw meat, and then killed annually.

Said Congressman Panetta, "This common sense, bipartisan bill will require the USDA to adhere to the same animal welfare standards that the department is charged to uphold.  While I strongly support scientific research, taxpayer money and federal resources should be spent on advancing scientific research in an ethical manner, not on inflicting pain on kittens or killing them after they are used in agency testing.  I hope this bill helps us get closer to ending this cruel practice."

"The fact that we need a piece of legislation to tell the federal government to stop killing kittens is ridiculous on its face, but what’s even worse is when you hear the details that the government is actually breeding hundreds of these cats just to intentionally feed them parasite-ridden raw meat and then kill them even though they’re perfectly healthy," Congressman Mast said.  “These tests are just awful, abusive and unnecessary, not to mention a serious misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars.  This needs to stop now."

"This bipartisan bill is an important step to end cruel testing practices that cost over $650,000 in taxpayer dollars each year and put the lives of innocent kittens in danger," said Congressman Hurd.  "I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce this bill today and will continue to fight for the humane treatment of all of God’s creatures."

"The USDA’s archaic kitten experiments are out of step with 21st century research practices and animal welfare recommendations. Continuing to breed and kill perfectly healthy kittens for toxoplasmosis research is unethical and unnecessary and I’m grateful to Congressman Panetta for introducing the KITTEN Act to stop it once and for all," said Hannah Shaw,  a guest expert for Animal Planet, and founder of animal advocacy project, Kitten Lady.