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THE DAY THE MICE ROARED -- AND THE COURT LISTENED!

 THE DAY THE MICE ROARED -- AND THE COURT LISTENED!
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- After two decades of exclusion from safeguards granted other animals used in laboratory experimentation, mice, rats and birds finally had their day in court -- and emerged victorious.
 The U.S. District Court, D.C. ruled yesterday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has violated the federal Animal Welfare Act by denying basic protections to tens of millions of mice, rats and birds that comprise 85 percent of all animals used in biomedical research. As amended in 1970, the Animal Welfare Act was intended to protect animals used in research but USDA intentionally excluded mice, rats and birds from its definition of "animal."
 Granting the summary judgment motion brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Judge Charles Richey stated:
 The defendants' failure to pursue the humane care and
 treatment of birds, rats, and mice...allows the
 mistreatment of birds, rats, and mice to continue
 unchecked by the agency charged with the protection of
 laboratory animals. The court cannot believe that this
 is what Congress had in mind.
 Valerie Stanley, the attorney for the plaintiffs, declared: "This marks a watershed in the animal rights movement. Millions of previously neglected animals in research laboratories will finally be granted basic humane treatment, including veterinary care and pain relief. And after 20 years of less-than-benign neglect by USDA, the intent of Congress to protect these animals will finally be honored."
 Dr. Martin Stephens, HSUS vice president for Laboratory Animals stated: "We're delighted that after 20 years of ignoring birds, mice and rats, the USDA is finally forced to recognize that they are indeed animals."
 The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national non-profit organization of lawyers who work to protect and promote animal rights, has been suing the USDA over enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act since 1988.
 The Humane Society of the United States, founded in 1954, is the nation's largest animal protection organization, with a constituency of 1.5 million. The HSUS was instrumental in the passage of the original 1966 Animal Welfare Act.
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Valerie Stanley, 202-289-4854, or Joyce Tischler, 415-459-0885, both of Animal Legal Defense Fund; or Brenda Foster of Humane Society of the United States, 202-452-1100/ CO: Animal Legal Defense Fund; Humane Society of the United States ST: California, District of Columbia IN: SU:


DG -- SF007 -- 8355 01/09/92 15:46 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 9, 1992
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