The Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act are examples of legislation in the United States that involve animal rights. In addition every state has laws on animal cruelty to protect animals from abuse and neglect.
The Animal Welfare Act, which was passed in 1966, was the first federal law in the United States that addressed the rights of animals involved in scientific research. It also applies to animal carriers, breeders, handlers and dealers. The purpose of this law was to establish the minimum standards for housing, sanitation, food and water; protection from weather; and veterinary care. Since 1966, this law has been amended eight times, as of 2016. Animal rights advocate criticize this law because it excludes mice, rats and birds, which are widely used animals in laboratory research.
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects the rights of animal species that are facing extinction or have critically low populations in the United States. It also states that habitats that are the homes of endangered animals must also be protected.
Animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, but their main purpose is to discourage animal abuse by imposing punishments. As of 2016, there 41 states and the District of Columbia have animal cruelty laws with felony provisions.