Artificial Environments

David Jordan
From the Sept/Oct 1996 Rat & Mouse Gazette

I have been thinking about the moral side of rodent raising. What are the absolute minimum standards for keeping caged animals and can we all agree on them?

When you contain an animal in an artificial environment, I believe you have the following minimum obligations:


All animals should have access to clean water at all times. Do not wait for a bottle to be empty, change it when it is low.


Animals should always have food in their cages.


Animals should be protected from extremes of temperature and from cage mates that would do them harm. Cages should not be overcrowded. Stay below one half the density specified in USDA shipping requirements.


A cage clean enough to prevent illness or injury.

I believe these are the minimum things we owe our animals when we place them in cages. When we cage an animal, we have complete control over its health, comfort, and survival. We owe the animal at least these four minimum considerations.

However, it would be nice to take into account more than just the basics.


Owners should avoid the "crash and burn" syndrome. Do not have a number of animals greater than you can handle (or afford) without neglecting them or your own right to a balanced life.

Animals should have an enriched environment.

Animals should be appreciated and loved.

Animals should be bred only in numbers that are wanted and needed.

Animals should be given medical attention as needed.

People should develop a relationship with their animals and learn from them.

Your animals should be a source of pleasure and satisfaction.

David Jordan is an active member of the Northeast Rat & Mouse Club International