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Saving Kittens from the USDA

Homeless pets here at Second Chance Humane Society do our best to avoid politics - but sometimes it is just too important an issue for us to turn our tails up to. So today I wanted to enlighten you on a Senate bill that US senator Jeff Merkley introduced to stop the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from killing kittens. Yep, read on to learn how helpless little kittens can now be saved.

The USDA breeds kittens to be used in experimental research on toxoplasmosis - a parasitic illness, which can be serious for unborn children and people with compromised immune systems. Cats are the only animals whose feces contains the parasite so the kittens they breed are fed infected meat and the parasite's eggs are harvested for use in experiments on toxoplasmosis.

The focus of the bill is that the kittens are killed after their use in the research, but Mr. Merkley believes they should be adopted into loving homes instead. He learned from veterinarians that the kittens, which are euthanized before they are three months old, could be treated for the parasite and emerge "very healthy".

A version of the KITTEN Act (the full title of which is the "Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now Act of 2018") was introduced in the House of Representatives, by Republican Congressman Mike Bishop, before he lost his seat in the November mid-term elections. Since then some 61 Republicans and Democrats have now co-sponsored it.

The USDA (yes the same agency that recently announced its plans to reduce nutritional standards for school cafeterias – oops sorry I know pets are not supposed to get political…) said it does not try to have the cats adopted due to fears they could pose a risk to their new families.

Fortunately Mr Merkley opted to investigate rather than accept the USDA’s opinion on this matter and spoke to veterinarians who disagreed (and rumor has it that one even suggested that the USDA was simply being lazy). The results of Mr. Merkley’s exploration was that "There's absolutely little cost and no reason not to treat the kittens and adopt them out to American families.”

So now it is up to American families to contact your House and Senate representatives to let them know you care about the lives of these kittens. Let’s end 2018 with saving lives and telling the USDA that all lives matter (as does nutrition in public schools – oops I did it again!). Alternatively, I would like to see the experiments with these poor kittens end altogether but that is our next fight…

Now I am going to do a little bit of activism for my own cause (which is finding a new home of course). My name is Jango. I am a six year-young male Doberman/gentle giant. And yes, I have written a Pet Column before (which simply reveals how long I have been waiting for my new home).

I was surrendered to Second Chance when my people had to move. On top of that, yes 2018 has been a bit of a pisser (wait can I say that in this publication?), I arrived here with thyroid issues and arthritis. Thanks to the special medical fund here at Second Chance I am now feeling and living much better.

In fact I now skip along with a big smile that will brighten your world as I go on long walks and play with doggie friends of all sizes. My new family will need to continue my pain management medication and of course - my favorite thing in the world – human affection!

If Santa did not bring me a home for 2018 would you consider giving me one for the New Year?

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

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