LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Nevada congresswoman says the Veterans Administration has been performing cruel and unnecessary medical experiments on cats for years… and she wants it to stop.
"I don't think people realize it because it's just so horrible to even imagine and it's so archaic and just something out of the dark ages," said Rep. Dina Titus.
Titus, a Democrat, worked with Republican Florida Congressman Brian Mast, an Army veteran, to introduce the Cat Abuse in Testing Stop Act--or C.A.T.S. Act of 2020.
It would prohibit the VA from conducting taxpayer-funded research that causes significant pain or distress to cats.
"You don't have to be a cat lover or owner like me to just be turned off totally by these kinds of things that are just so cruel and harmful," Rep. Titus said. "And it's a good government issue because they waste money that could be spent using newer technology that gets better results for our veterans."
Taxpayer watchdog and animal welfare group White Coat Waste Project says the VA has spent over $10 million on projects that involve cat testing at facilities in Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Louisville.
VA Spokesperson Randal Noller sent the following statement:
"VA cat research is directed at finding better ways to manage and avoid potentially life-threatening complications that veterans who have sustained spinal cord injuries otherwise face. Recently, animal research involving VA researchers led to the development of a device that allows paralyzed U.S. Army Veteran David to cough on his own, leading to fewer hospital stays, reduced risk of life-threatening pneumonia, increased independence and dramatically improved quality of life. Attempts to ban VA animal research are rooted in emotion, ignoring the science. And if they succeed, veterans like David will be deprived of the hope of a better future."
The legislation has already passed the House and is now in the Senate's hands.
Rep. Titus is hopeful it will become law before the end of the year.