Win Alert: USDA Ends Cat-Killing Experiments

Mike Ryan, April 2, 2019

Today the USDA finally agreed to something NEAVS supporters have demanded for over a year: End the kitten-killing experiments taking place at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) in Maryland, and adopt out the remaining animals.

NEAVS applauds the USDA for listening to concerned citizens who voiced their disapproval of these experiments.

The USDA went a step further and even agreed to never bring back experiments using cats in any of their ARS facilities. Here’s how this victory played out:



  • May: Rep. Bishop introduces a bill to ban USDA from using cats in any experiments that unnecessarily hurts the animals.
  • June: Maryland’s Governor Hogan signs legislation authored by then Delegate Kramer mandating that cats used in experiments taking place in Maryland have to be given a shot at post-research adoption.
  • September: NEAVS writes USDA’s leadership offering to adopt the cats, and to pay for any associated costs.
  • October: NEAVS writes the General Services Administration (GSA) to begin a dialogue between the USDA and GSA regarding the adoption of these cats. GSA and USDA then hold meetings on the topic and determine a path forward. Also, this month the Maryland law took effect.
  • November: NEAVS writes USDA informing them that the new Maryland law applies to their work and constitutes an adoption mandate that USDA cannot ignore.
  • December: Sen. Merkley introduces a bill (similar to Rep. Bishop’s bill in the House) to ban USDA from using cats in any experiments that unnecessarily hurts the animals.


  • February: The government spending bill President Trump signed included report language directing USDA to explore how to adopt these cats.
  • March: White Coast Waste, who first uncovered these abusive tests and was instrumental in this victory, reveals that the experimenters were buying dogs and cats from “Asian meat markets,” killing them, and feeding their remains to their lab cats.
  • March: We teamed up with Advancing Law for Animals (ALA) in petitioning the USDA to issue 3 new regulations that, taken together, would ensure experimenters working in states with post-research adoption laws follow them, and work to adopt instead of kill the dogs and cats they’re using.
  • April: After 30+ years, USDA finally agrees to end these experiments and adopt out the cats.

Special thanks to Sen. Kramer, Gov. Hogan, Rep. Bishop, Sen. Merkley, White Coat Waste, Advancing Law for Animals, ABC’s Scott Taylor, the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committee staff, the dozens of Members of Congress who wrote USDA demanding these reforms, and most importantly, thanks to the thousands of NEAVS supporters who wrote Congress asking for these long-overdue reforms.

These kitten-killing experiments are finally over, won’t be coming back, and we’re grateful that USDA agreed to our request to adopt out the animals instead of automatically killing them.

This sends a powerful message to any federal employees thinking of harming animals in experiments: science is no excuse for animal abuse.

Initial Vet Visit is on Us:

Since the USDA is adopting out the remaining 14 cats to their employees, we’re happy to help those employees with their initial vet visit. Adopters seeking assistance can contact us to take advantage of this offer.