A new watchdog report claims that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been purchasing cats and dogs at meat markets abroad to use in experiments in the United States.
The experiments, according to the report, involved feeding their body parts to healthy cats as well as injecting them into mice.
The report was published on Wednesday March 20th by a nonprofit organization called The White Coat Waste Project. It says that the experiments were conducted by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in the name of research that had a very limited impact on improving public health.
The purpose was to research toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the common parasite Toxoplasma gondii, said Justin Goodman, the vice president of The White Coat Waste Project, who helped write the report.
Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic infections in the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also a leading cause of death due to foodborne illness in the U.S.