In the article "Diseased Cats Taken From USDA Lab in Md." {front page, Aug. 25}, Dr. J. P. Dubey said, "I am a veterinarian. I could not in my dreams mistreat animals." But he apparently has no problem with intentionally infecting a group of animals with a parasite so that he can observe how they transmit the disease to other healthy animals.

Does he think he's doing these animals a favor? If Dr. Dubey feels it's necessary to perform fatal experiments on living creatures, the least he can do is stop pretending to be concerned with the animals' welfare.



Concerning the recent activity by the "Band of Mercy" group, which released 27 cats from the Agricultural Research Center, including 11 cats infected with toxoplasmosis, I would like to point out that this disease is potentially harmful not only to pregnant women and their fetuses but to anyone -- such as a child playing in a sandbox -- who inadvertently comes in contact with fecal matter.

I have toxoplasmosis, and had it not been properly diagnosed and treated, today I would be blind in one eye. My case is currently in remission, but it could become active again. I was treated with large doses of steroids (including injections directly into the eye) to combat the spread of the parasite. As far as I know, my case is not atypical, although the treatment was a last-ditch effort to save my eyesight (the steroids caused adverse side effects).

I would advise the Band of Mercy, and any other animal rights groups so inclined, to think twice before taking on any future missions of mercy. Medical science has much to learn about the nature of toxoplasmosis, and if experimenting with cats will help, I say: "Go to it."

I was particularly angered by the remarks made by one member of the group who was interviewed on TV. She made light of the possible dangers of infection. I can assure her that the danger, anxiety and suffering associated with the disease are real.