Cats: Casualties of Human Curiosity

The Rise for Animals Team, August 8, 2023

Even in a country that boasts of having approximately 90 million “house cats”, our commitment to their protection is still very much necessary.

Almost 50 years after a barbaric science experiment involving cats helped launch the U.S. animal rights movement, cats are still trapped in labs.

We know that cats are (and know they are!) a big deal, but did you know that they played a huge part in the launching of the American animal rights movement?

That’s right – the “beginning of contemporary animal rights activism” can be attributed to a 1976 controversy surrounding the victimization of cats in the name of science. The controversy unfolded when legendary social justice advocate Henry Spira launched a campaign against the American Museum of Natural History, which was receiving NIH funding to perform heinous, sexual experiments on cats: “removing parts of the brain, severing nerves in the penis, and destroying the sense of smell”, among other barbarities. After 18 months of coordinated public opposition, Spira’s campaign succeeded in having the Museum’s experiments stopped, and motivated many other advocates to take similar action. 

Tragically, these many decades later, the animal research industry is still using cats as experimental subjects: over 14,500 of them in the U.S. alone in 2022.   

At the hands of researchers, cats are subjected to all kinds of brutality to appease human curiosity. And, we oppose it all. 

Like Henry Spira, we at Rise reject the “instrumental use” of cats (and all other-than-human animals), who, just like us, “are intricate symphonies with feelings, interests, and preferences….” 

And, like him, we believe that “‘ . . . nothing, not even a multi-billion dollar animal research cartel with powerful political connections, can stop an idea whose time has come–that we must treat other feeling creatures the way we’d want to be treated were we in their place.’”

The animal testing industry goes to great lengths to keep everything that they’re doing hidden.

Please tell your senators to support S. 778, the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act. This bill aims to require public disclosure of the total cost to taxpayers for every project supported with federal funds—including experiments on animals.

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