Congress Suspends Animal Rights for Rats, Mice, and Birds


Illustration by Jason Holley    

Last May Congress played with definitions while amending the Animal Welfare 
Act. Even small children might be surprised to discover that their 
representatives in Washington no longer consider rats, mice, and birds used 
in laboratory experiments to be animals, or at least animals worthy of 
    Senator Jesse Helms, the retiring 81-year-old Republican conservative 
from North Carolina, slipped in the amendment to a farm bill at the last 
minute, and it was approved by a voice vote, which means no one's vote is on 
the record. President George W. Bush signed the measure into law. 
    However, lab researchers around the country may have been granted only a 
temporary reprieve. Marcia Kramer, director of legal and legislative programs 
at the National Anti-Vivisection Society, noted: "What can be legislated can 
be un-legislated." 
— Jeffrey Winters 
From Discover Magazine, this month


John Landon
Website for
World History and the Eonic Effect