Rodent Rights Activists Face Uphill Climb
Animal campaigners seek a better quality of life for lab rats
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2009 11:24 AM CDT
"Rats and mice tend to get a bad rap," one advocate said. "We just have these biases built in that are not really representative of who they are."   (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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(Newser) – Activists have managed to improve the lives of many animals in recent years, but they've met indifference when it comes to getting a better deal for rodents, the Wall Street Journal reports. Rats and mice make up 90% of the animals used in research in the US, say advocates, but privately funded labs aren't required to follow even basic animal welfare guidelines when it comes to rodents.

Animal rights campaigners trying to get the public to greet rodents with sympathy instead of squeals say that while they'd prefer animal testing was eliminated, they'll settle for giving the critters a better quality of life. PETA has sent companies a list of guidelines to follow, including giving rats and mice proper nesting materials and toys to keep them busy, and many labs have been surprisingly receptive.