Rats and Mice

The Physicians Committee
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Rats and Mice

Rats and mice may be small in size, but they have big personalities and complex psychological and social lives. When allowed to thrive, rats and mice are curious, affectionate, and playful. Research has shown that rats and mice experience basic emotions; for example, rats laugh in response to tickling, and mice grimace, wince, and exhibit other easily recognizable facial expressions in response to pain.

Unfortunately, the needs of rats and mice cannot be met while captive in laboratories. This is especially troubling because rats and mice are the most commonly used animals in laboratory experiments, with tens of millions killed each year in the United States. Excluded from the federal Animal Welfare Act, rats and mice are not afforded even basic protection related to the quality of their care. Because of this exclusion, they can be kept in cramped, dirty conditions, and researchers are able to subject them to the most painful procedures with no pain relief.

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