I really appreciated Mark Benjamin’s story on the possible widening of the Animal Welfare Act to include rats (“A Rat’s Life,” 3/5). After calling the Department of Agriculture, I learned that a petition exists to extend the meager considerations of housing, feeding, et al. to mice and birds as well, and that the deadline for public comment has been extended to May 28th. (The time extension was decided after Mr. Benjamin wrote his article.)

Your story held nothing back about what happens to animals in laboratories, nor did it exaggerate the diabolical deeds perpetrated there. Vivisection’s “benefit” to humankind is the vilest hoax of modern times. No procedures or medications have ever been proved safe for humans by being tested on other animals, because that is logically impossible.

It seems little enough to ask that birds and rodents be given more comfort between their torture sessions.

Bethesda, Md.