Laboratory rodent welfare: thinking outside the cage

J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2010;13(1):77-88. doi: 10.1080/10888700903372168.


This commentary presents the case against housing rats and mice in laboratory cages; the commentary bases its case on their sentience, natural history, and the varied detriments of laboratory conditions. The commentary gives 5 arguments to support this position: (a) rats and mice have a high degree of sentience and can suffer, (b) laboratory environments cause suffering, (c) rats and mice in the wild have discrete behavioral needs, (d) rats and mice bred for many generations in the laboratory retain these needs, and (e) these needs are not met in laboratory cages.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Welfare*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory / psychology*
  • Awareness
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Female
  • Housing, Animal / standards*
  • Male
  • Mice / psychology*
  • Rats / psychology*