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USDA Terminates Deadly Cat Experiments, Plans To Adopt Out Remaining Animals

Scientists infected the cats with toxoplasmosis and later killed them. Bipartisan members of Congress complained about the practice and the agency ended the program.
The United States Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday it will discontinue a research program that involved killing thousands of cats. The agency has been under pressure to put an end to the program. Source: USDA photo obtained through a FOIA request

The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Tuesday that it's putting an end to a controversial research program that led scientists to kill thousands of cats over decades.

Since 1982 the USDA's Agricultural Research Services division had been conducting experiments that involved infecting cats with toxoplasmosis — a disease usually caused by eating undercooked contaminated meat — in order to study the foodborne illness. Once the cats were infected, and the parasite harvested, the felines were put down.

In a announcing the

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