Why Rats?

Have you ever been judged unfairly? It hurts, doesn’t it? Let’s turn things around for rats and other small animals. If we can have empathy and appreciation for one of the most vilified animals, by extension we hope all animals will fall under the umbrella of our care and concern.

This project is being produced by long-time activist David Walega. We believe that all animals, no matter how small or large, are worthy of our compassion and respect.

Animal Welfare Act

When is an animal not an animal? Most small animals including rats are not protected by federal law.

Making up approximately 95% of animals used in laboratories, rats and mice suffer in the millions at universities and research institutions.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), adopted in 1966, is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Offering very weak protections, the AWA is not intended to regulate how animals are used in this research, but only to regulate how they are obtained, maintained, housed and fed.  However, in 2002, the Act became even more restrictive and, in a brief amendment as part of an Agricultural Appropriations bill, excluded rats, mice, as well as birds. Why?! A 2011 government factsheet claims that rats and mice “are bred for use in research or for use as animal food, and are therefore exempt from coverage under the AWA.” For scientists, they are equipment or supplies. For these researchers, they are things listed in catalogs, they are things disposed of when their usefulness is done, they are numbers and figures: They are not animals like you or me.