The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will stop killing cats in a research program that has involved the slaughter of more than 3,000 kittens. The research into a potentially deadly parasitic illness called toxoplasmosis saw kittens being fed infected meat and then killed when the work was over. Vets have said the disease is treatable and the cats should have been adopted. Thousands of kittens have been put down since the research began in 1982. Following a public outcry, the USDA said “toxoplasmosis research has been redirected and the use of cats... has been discontinued and will not be reinstated.” The department said the 14 remaining cats on the program will be adopted by USDA employees, and claimed its research helped halve the rate of toxoplasmosis infections.