More Than 111 Million Mice and Rats Used Each Year in U.S. Labs

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Update: January 21, 2021
A new analysis, published in the journal Nature, estimates that 111 million mice and rats are used each year in U.S. laboratories. Veterinarian Dr. Larry Carbone used Freedom of Information Act requests to collect data from 16 of the top 30 institutions funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He determined that mice and rats made up 99.3% of all mammals used there, and he applied this percentage to all U.S. laboratories to produce the staggering figure of 111 million mice and rats. Although they feel pain and suffer, mice and rats used in experimentation are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law with legally enforceable animal welfare standards that governs the treatment of animals in laboratories. Carbone writes, “Rodents’ capacity to experience significant pain and distress in experiments is no longer contested. With over 100 million of these sentient animals born per year for American science, it is time to revisit the adequacy of their welfare protections.” We agree. Please take action below to ask your member of Congress to amend the AWA to include vulnerable mice and rats.

Every day, mice and rats die in our nation's laboratories—without even the most basic protections of federal law. Like dogs and cats, these animals feel pain, and studies show that they are clever and great mothers and that they would risk their own lives to save their friends. But even though mice and rats make up 95 percent of all animals used in experimentation, they are specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act, the only federal law offering any sort of protection for animals in laboratories.

Mice and rats are intelligent, social beings who deserve protection just as much as dogs, rabbits, and hamsters do. For these small animals, being included in the AWA would simply mean receiving the same care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures that other species do. This basic protection could mean significantly less suffering for mice and rats. Indeed, while experimentation on those species covered by the AWA is decreasing, research shows that the use of mice and other excluded animals is increasing.

Please use the form below to send a polite e-mail to your members of Congress urging him or her to push for the amendment of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to include mice and rats.

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