To many people today, animals are seen as nothing more than a childhood pet, a mere source of education, or even a useless annoyance. To other people, animals are beautiful, exquisite creatures that should be protected and cherished. Recently, many animal rights activists have turned their focus to animal experimentation, which has become one of today's largest controversies. The Animal Welfare Act is the federal law that governs the humane care, handling, treatment and transportation of some animals in certain situations: animals in laboratories, dealers who sell animals to laboratories, animal exhibitors, carriers and intermediate handlers, dog and cat breeders, puppy mills, zoos, circuses, roadside menageries and transporters of animals. The Animal Welfare Act does not protect animals during an experiment, regardless of how painful or even unnecessary it is. Excluded from the act are the following: retail pet stores, state and county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, purebred dog and cat shows and "fairs and exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences." The USDA interprets the act to currently exclude birds, all cold-blooded animals like reptiles, rats and mice bred for research, and horses and other farm animals such as cows and pigs, used or intended for use as food or fiber. Horses and other farm animals are covered if they are used in experiments, but equine animals are specifically denied coverage if they are used in entertainment events. There are no regulations that govern the conduct of an experiment or what the animals will be forced to endure during an experiment.
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