Written by PETA
Yep, rats and mice are finally having their day. Saturday's Wall Street Journal (the second-largest paper in the country and the most respected) features a front-page article about the work of PETA and others to gain protection for rats and mice in laboratories.
Shockingly, even though rats and mice comprise more than 95 percent of the animals used in experiments, they are specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law that protects animals in laboratories. According to the U.S. government, in its infinite wisdom, rats and mice (as well as birds and "cold-blooded" animals) are not "animals." (It's nonsensical, we know.)
That's why PETA has been doing end-runs around the worthless AWA by going straight to the companies that are required to test their products and pointing out the benefits of using effective and humane alternatives. We also monitor the various government agencies' testing programs and object every time we learn about a proposed test on animals that is redundant or for which non-animal alternatives are available. By doing this, we have been able to get dozens of tests on animals stopped (or the number of animals used greatly reduced), which has saved tens of thousands of animals' lives.
We think it's about time that our elected officials thought about rats and mice, don't you? Send a message to your members of Congress demanding that rats and mice be treated like the sensitive animals (not vegetables or minerals) they are.
Written by Alisa Mullins
When you have an epic battle as big as PETA's campaign to convince home improvement behemoth Lowe's to stop selling glue traps, you have to decide if you are "a man or a mouse," as the saying goes. Personally, I'm a mouse. I'm PETA's original "sexy mouse," in fact. Yes, that's me, writhing in a giant "glue trap" outside Lowe's annual meeting last year.
As a proud sexy-mouse veteran, I'm pleased to unveil the newest addition to our Lowe's campaign:
But don't worry! Our classic "sexy mice" are still hitting the streets to let shoppers know that animals stuck in glue traps can suffer for days before succumbing to starvation, dehydration, or suffocation.
Leave a comment and let us know which demonstration you like the most: the traditional sexy mouse, "Mickey" and "Minnie Mouse," or our giant rat and anti-Lowe's minivan. I think you can guess which one is my favorite.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Though we can all agree that neglecting to feed an animal companion is pretty low, what about knowingly starving or denying an animal water until he or she dies? Well, that's what glue traps do, which is why selling them makes Lowe's the lowest of the low.
We've sent out one of our custom campaign vans to visit Lowe's stores in North Carolina, to remind shoppers of what, exactly, the glue traps that Lowe's sells inevitably do—cause immense suffering and ensure a slow death to whatever animal is unlucky enough to touch one.
Check out the photos from our demo (and just imagine what you'd think if you passed this van with our mouse friend here in the driver's seat … yeah, we're good at grabbing attention):
Unlike other major retailers, such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Albertsons, and Safeway, Lowe's has refused to drop these deadly devices from its inventory. Join Ms. Giant Rat in encouraging Lowe's to change its cruel policy.
Written by Sean Conner
Kathy Guillermo is the director of PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, where she works to expose the waste and cruelty of the multi-billion dollar animal experimentation industry. She also happens to be a damn fine writer, (and she’s got a great sense for snappy titles). This op-ed, about a recent study showing that some rodents can use tools, recently appeared in The Raleigh News Observer.
Some animals can use tools? Who cares?-by Kathy Guillermo, PETA
Years ago, I had a wonderful companion animal named Angus. He was a remarkable little fellow who loved to greet visitors to my house and snuggle next to me on the sofa. His favorite food was Chinese carry-out, and he went bonkers when he saw the white cardboard containers come out of the plastic bag on the kitchen table. He was loyal and sweet-tempered - probably not so different from your own dog or cat.
Except that Angus wasn't a dog or cat. He was a rat. A brown rat with shiny black eyes and a long pink tail. He lived on a table-top in my home, where he never had to be shut in his cage. He liked to cruise around the house perched on my shoulder.
So it was with particular interest that I read the just-released study on rats, which found that rats can be trained to use tools, to understand the tools' functions and to choose the most appropriate tool when presented with more than one. Before this, the study says, it was thought that only primates and some birds, in addition to humans, were capable of figuring this out.
So here's my response, and I hope it's yours too: Who cares?
Should we change the way we view rats because some of them can be taught how to use a little rake to draw food toward themselves? Of course not. We should change our attitude toward rats because they are thinking, feeling, living beings with a sense of humor, an affectionate nature and a capacity for suffering that the human race should stop ignoring.
This study is just the latest in a long line of experiments that should have convinced us of this long ago. Last July, researchers at the University of Berne, Switzerland, announced that rats are influenced by the kindness of strangers. If rats have been assisted by rats they've never met before, they are more likely to help other rats in the future. A sort of rodent version of "Pay It Forward."
Other studies have shown that rats become distressed when they see other rats being electrically shocked. We shouldn't be surprised - though apparently the experimenters were - that the rats become even more agitated if they know or are related to the rat being shocked.
Scientists with special recording equipment have shown that rats laugh out loud in frequencies that can't be heard by the human ear. Young rats who are being tickled are the most likely to giggle. Rats have been shown to be altruistic and have risked their own lives to save other rats, especially when the rats in peril are babies.
All of these studies, including the latest on tool use, are published in journals, and news releases are sent out, and science bloggers chat online about them, but in the end, what difference does it make to rats?
Rats and mice, that other unfairly maligned species, are still used and killed by the tens of millions in U.S. laboratories every year. They are denied even the minimal coverage of the Animal Welfare Act, the only federal law offering any sort of protection to animals in laboratories.
So while it may pique the curiosity of some that rats can be taught to use tools, the more interesting result of this and all the studies that came before it is that experimenters apparently can't be taught to put the results of studies to good use. If experimenters had this ability - the sort of reasoning that should get one from A to B in a logical way - they'd read the evidence that rats can think, learn, feel, laugh, act altruistically and risk their lives for others, and they'd stop caging and hurting them in laboratories.
When a person knows that another being can suffer, and yet deliberately sets about causing that suffering, shouldn't we worry less about which species can use tools, and more about the callousness of some people?
Proving once again that the folks in our Factory-Farming Campaigns Department are just brimming with so much compassion it could make you sick, they've just extended an offer to help our archenemy, KFC, deal with its apparent rodent problem. After video footage of a KFC in Greenwich Village that was overrun by rats on Friday went just about everywhere on the Internet, PETA sent a letter to the eatery’s owner, offering to help him implement a humane rodent-control program at his restaurant. Here's what PETA VP Bruce Friedrich had to say about the incident:
“This store’s lethal attempt to deal with rodents has failed miserably. Although KFC refuses to work with us toward minimizing the suffering of the hundreds of millions of birds killed for its restaurants every year, we hope that this store owner will work with us on a safe, effective, and humane solution to the rat infestation.”
Honestly, all this turning the other cheek and being nice to our enemies has me reeling. I'd go over to the other side of the office right now and congratulate our Factory-Farming Campaigns Department, but I'm worried that I'd be bowled over by all the excess compassion floating around. Here's PETA's letter to the store.
Awww, look at all the adorable rats! In other, extremely important news, KFC is really, really disgusting.
This video puts PETA in a bit of a difficult position, because we wouldn’t want to actively encourage other impressionable rats to eat at KFC—both for their own health and because of the ethical issues involved—but the restaurant does seem to be quite a favorite among rodents. Check it out:
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.