What other subtle and unknown factors influence the results of research?
This study is a very significant heads-up about the use of animals in pain and other biomedical research because animal models are frequently used to make inferences about human disease. And, mice and rats, rodents who are known to display empathy, are used by the millions and they are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act in the United States. Indeed, they aren't even considered to be "animals". A quote from the federal register reads as follows: "We are amending the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations to reflect an amendment to the Act's definition of the term animal. The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 amended the definition of animal to specifically exclude birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research" (Vol. 69, no. 108, 4 June 2004). (my emphasis)
It's about time to amend and to update the federal animal welfare act
It's about time that the Animal Welfare Act is amended and updated to recognize mice and rats as the animals they really are and to reflect what we now know about the emotional lives of the tens of millions of rodents and other animals who are freely used and abused in research. Indeed, it's long overdue. Research clearly shows that they really do care about what happens to them and to other animals. However, researchers and others refuse to incorporate what we know into legislation to protect them, most likely because it serves them well not to do so.