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Horton hears a who: What about mice and rats?

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Whether or not one agrees with PETA’s message — and I agree with PETA’s advocacy of vegetarianism and boycotting of circuses that use non-human animals (Cirque de Soleil apparently only uses human animals, for instance) — the group has developed a knack for persuasive videos. Persuasion is essential in trial advocacy, which makes me take notice all the more.

Here is PETA’s racy video rejected for Super Bowl ad-time that gives a fresh perspective on vegetables and a reminder that cutting out meat and increasing exercise and overall health beats Viagra any day. 

Above is a catchy video that forces people to think twice and hopefully a million times before ever using a glue trap against mice or rats again. They are very social and feeling beings, and caring at that, according to this PETA video. They do not intentionally annoy people. Yet, they are specifically exempted from the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131, et seq. More specifically, in the Animal Welfare Act:

"The term ‘animal’ means any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet; but such term excludes (1) birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research, (2) horses not used for research purposes, and (3) other farm animals, such as, but not limited to livestock or poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber." 7 U.S.C. § 2132(g) (emphasis added).

The foregoing definitional jumble seems to be the product of battle by opposing and competing lobbyists and advocates. Exempting mice and rats from the Animal Welfare Act, says PETA, exempts 95 percent of animals used in experimentation, which remains rampant. On this point, the American Psychological Association seems to elevate animal experimentation over animal compassion.

Whether or not the anti-abortion movement has adopted Horton Hears a Who as a propaganda darling — and I support choice while hoping that education, funding, widespread availability of birth control, and economic opportunities will reduce the annual abortion rate — Dr. Seuss’s Horton makes a critical point that I translate to "A being’s a being, no matter how small," including mice, rats, squirrels, quails, sardines, hens, pigs, tuna, salmon, turkeys, cows, and the list goes on.

Congratulations to PETA for finding such persuasive message delivery. Jon Katz.