Lawmakers Probe USDA-Funded Cat and Dog Labs Following White Coat Waste Investigations

Posted by Amanda Nieves
23 May 2024 | Blog


  • Citing ongoing White Coat Waste Project (WCW) investigations, bipartisan lawmakers are demanding answers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about its wasteful spending on cruel dog and cat experiments in the U.S. and overseas.
  • They also blast USDA’s failure to enact a lab animal retirement policy demanded by Congress.
  • Five years ago, a WCW exposé and campaign shut down the government’s largest cat experimentation lab, the USDA’s Kitten Slaughterhouse and saved over two dozen cats from certain death.
  • But, WCW has documented how the agency is still funding deadly experiments on pets in non-federal labs and refuses to enact a lab animal adoption policy.
  • WCW is the only animal protection organization to shut down federal feline labs in at least 40 years.

Five years ago, WCW’s investigations, grassroots campaign, and lobbying on Capitol Hill completely shut down the government’s largest cat experimentation lab: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Kitten Slaughterhouse. Then, we saved over two dozen cats from certain death and relocated them to loving homes—including our Founder’s.

Delilah (Govt ID #87) and Petite (Govt ID #15KEY5) on the ride home from the lab, the day WCW rescued them from USDA’s Kitten Slaughterhouse Both cats were adopted by WCW president and founder Anthony Bellotti.

Building on this momentum, we rallied Congress to enact legislation in 2021 and 2022 directing the USDA to join other federal agencies in creating a lab animal retirement policy allowing survivors to be adopted out into loving homes.

But the intransigent and heartless USDA has defied Congress and apparently refused to enact this commonsense, life-saving policy.

Now, citing WCW’s exposés, Republicans and Democrats are demanding answers from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about the USDA’s refusal to retire lab survivors and its continued funding for wasteful and cruel experiments on cats and dogs in non-federal labs.

Lawmakers Probe USDA-Funded Animal Experiments

As first reported by POLITICO, led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), the bipartisan coalition writes: “The USDA’s decision to end its in-house kitten experiments and adopt out the survivors was a step in the right direction, but the problems of harmful USDA-funded experiments on cats and the agency’s lack of a lab animal retirement plan apparently persist.”

Rep. Mace was one of 28 bipartisan lawmakers who requested and helped secure the directive for USDA lab animal retirement policy back in 2021.

Lawmakers Probe USDA-Funded Animal Experiments

The letter cites WCW’s recent investigation exposing Auburn University for breeding thousands of sick kittens to suffer from debilitating and deadly diseases and abusing them in wasteful obesity experiments funded by USDA.

It also cites records obtained by WCW via the Freedom of Information Act showing how, “cats are locked in small cages, intentionally infected with COVID, and then killed” in wasteful experiments at Cornell University.

Lawmakers Probe USDA-Funded Animal Experiments

Lawmakers Probe USDA-Funded Animal Experiments

Lawmakers joining Rep. Mace in sending the letter to USDA include Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Greg Steube (R-FL), Donald G. Davis (D-NC), and Shri Thanedar (D-MI).

Tell Congress to pass Violet’s Law to make lab animal adoption an option at the USDA and across all federal agencies.

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