Stop Caging Lab Animals in Tiny, Barren Cells

Target: Thomas J. Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Require laboratories to provide their animals with enrichment tools to create less stressful, more natural environments.

Typical laboratory housing denies animals their natural inclinations to hunt, forage, and socialize, among other things. Many times, enclosures are barren and isolated and animals that often live in groups are forced to live with few–if any–other individuals. These unstimulating environments restrict them from engaging in natural behaviors, and lead to a series of abnormal behaviors which may thwart reliability or applicability of scientific findings.

Natural enrichment and mental stimulation are extremely important components in maintaining healthy and stress-free animals. Animals ranging from mice to fish to monkeys could benefit from the incorporation of enrichment tools in their environments, and the addition of tools such as gnawable toys for rats and scratching posts for cats might even positively impact their affective states.

Sign this petition to encourage the USDA to demand enrichment products be offered to animals in laboratory settings to improve welfare.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Research environments are extremely stressful for laboratory animals. They are usually housed in small, barren cages with limited means of social interaction. Rats, mice, frogs, fish, cats, dogs, monkeys and other animals are deprived of their natural behaviors which they exhibit in the wild, such as hunting, foraging, and playing.

In addition to necessities provided under the Animal Welfare Act, laboratory animals require mental stimulation and enrichment. Environmental enrichment improves the psychological and physiological welfare of animals, and promotes the expression of important, species-specific behaviors. Enrichment tools are cost-effective and easily accessible, ranging from scratching posts for cats, to gnawing tools for mice and rabbits, to pecking products for birds.

We are asking you, Mr. Vilsack, to demand laboratories provide their subjects with enrichment tools and help create a less stressful environment for their animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Understanding Animal Research

One Comment

  1. Vilsack is a useless tool for massive corporations.

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