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Let's Help Mice and Rats

It’s no secret that mice and rats feel pain, fear, loneliness, and joy, just as we do. These highly social animals become emotionally attached to one another, love their families, and easily bond with human guardians. Rats express empathy when another rat or a human they know is in distress—and some will even put themselves in harm’s way rather than allowing another rat to suffer.

Right now, tens of millions of mice and rats are being used in painful and ineffective experiments. Others experience excruciating deaths while stuck to a deadly glue trap. In crowded breeding mills that supply small animals to big-box pet stores, they’re denied water and adequate veterinary care. We can help them.

quick and easy ways to help mice and rats

Mice and Rats Used in Experiments

As many as 110 million mice and rats are abused —and killed— in U.S. laboratories every year.

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They suffer in everything from toxicology tests (in which they’re slowly poisoned to death) and painful burn experiments to psychological “despair” experiments that induce terror, anxiety, depression, and helplessness. They’re deliberately electroshocked in pain studies and mutilated in experimental surgeries, and everything from cocaine to methamphetamine is pumped into their bodies. They’re given cancerous tumors and injected with human cells in genetic-manipulation experiments.

Even though these animals are as capable of experiencing suffering as dogs and cats are, they aren’t protected even by the meager provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act governing the treatment of animals in laboratories. Because mice and rats aren’t shielded by the law, experimenters don’t have to provide them with proper pain relief or even count the number of these animals they kill. Below, you can take action to help mice and rats suffering in cruel, useless experiments:

Deadly Glue Traps

images of mice stuck to glue traps

Mice, rats, and all animals deserve our compassion and respect, so it’s essential that we use humane methods to solve any perceived problems associated with them. One of the cruelest methods of “rodent-control” that exists today is the deadly glue trap. These devices—consisting of a piece of cardboard, fiberboard, or plastic coated with a strong adhesive—are indiscriminate killers, designed to ensnare any small animal who makes contact with the sticky surface.

Trapped rodents suffer immeasurably on glue traps. As the terrified animals desperately struggle to escape the adhesive, they often tear patches of skin and fur off and will even attempt to chew off their own legs. Glue trap manufacturers direct consumers to throw animals along with the traps into the trash, where they can be crushed. It can take days for trapped animals to die from asphyxiation, blood loss, dehydration, exhaustion, injury, or shock—an undeniably cruel fate for any individual to endure.

Mice and Rats in the Pet Trade

Rats and mice are often purchased on a whim as gifts and mistakenly thought of as “starter pets.” Potential caretakers rarely understand the complex needs of their new companions. Once the novelty has worn off, many small animals are neglected, left at animal shelters, or simply turned loose outdoors, where they have little chance of surviving.

Please never buy rats or mice from big-box pet stores. These animals often come from breeding mills, where they experience severe crowding and neglect. Seven eyewitness investigations—conducted between 2004 and 2016—of dealers that supply or supplied animals to Petco and/or PetSmart have revealed that the animals face filthy, abusive conditions. A separate investigation in 2018 showed that multiple mice at a Nashville PetSmart store were bloated, had discharge from their eyes and ears, and struggled to breathe. When one developed a swollen face and began walking with a head tilt, supervisors said that they could “squish” or freeze him to death. The store manager said, “He’s just a mouse. Who cares?”

 If you’re certain that you have the time, money, ability, desire, and dedication needed to provide a mouse or rat with a lifetime of care, please give an animal a second chance at life and love by adopting from a shelter. Many shelters have small animals available for adoption, and you can search by species on for adoptable animals near you. Never support the cruel pet trade.

Mice and Rats Need Your Help—Take Action Now!

There are multiple opportunities to help. As soon as you take one action below, another will automatically appear in its place.

Just enter your information once, and then keep clicking the “Send Message” button until you’ve completed them all. Once you’ve finished, be sure to share this page with your friends, family members, and social media followers. Ask them to join you in taking action for mice and rats.

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Mice Stitched Together, Injected With Bacteria—Take Action!

Please urge NIH to stop funding worthless sepsis experiments on mice.
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