Include Mice and Rats in Animal Welfare Legislation

  • By: Judith B.
  • Target: United States Congress

Many people were shocked that Australia specifically excludes fish from animal welfare legislation, despite including some invertebrates. All vertebrates are sentient to some degree and certain fish, notably sharks, have about the intelligence of a cat.

The United States does the same thing, but more so. Mice, birds and rats bred for research are specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act of 1966, presumably for economic reasons. It is cheaper to conduct experiments when you don’t actually have to follow any welfare rules.

This is, however, ridiculous. Rats, for example, are as social and intelligent as dogs, maybe more so. They dream, this has been proven in the many experiments conducted upon them, they have feelings and a high level of awareness. They cannot be treated like fruitflies or wheat. Much the same goes for mice and birds.

Tell the federal government that excluding obviously highly sentient animals from current welfare legislation is ridiculous.


We the undersigned ask that you immediately add rats, mice and birds bred for research to the Animal Welfare Act. This would in no way stop apparently necessary animal experiments – it would just ensure that such experiments were conducted to the very basic level of humaneness required for other creatures, including pain control where necessary.


Including rats, mice and birds under the very basic guidelines of the Animal Welfare Act is common sense. Experiments that are deemed necessary are conducted upon even the higher primates. Plenty are done upon dogs, cats and rabbits. The only difference is that certain welfare guidelines must be followed for these animals under the Act.


Excluding rats, mice and birds is completely out of the question. These creatures are obviously sentient and at least as intelligent as most domestic pets. Therefore, they must be included under any federal animal welfare laws.


Please address this gaping hole in the legislation as a matter of urgency.


Thank you for your attention.

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