Use of mice, birds and rats in the laboratory is governed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.
Other animals used in research are covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Act. The USDA has determined that extending AWA coverage to rats, mice and birds would have a substantial financial impact on institutions and investigators. The vast majority of rats, mice and birds used in research already enjoy ample protection by other means. According to government estimates, at least 90 percent of these animals are protected through the National Institutes of Health and other federal funders; through universities' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs); through scientific societies' ethical guidelines; and through voluntary accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC).