Rescue lab rats

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Rescue lab rats

Post by Créatúirín on Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:49 am

Hello all,

I'd be interested in rescuing rats that have been used for laboratory tests. I guess the poor sods are usually just euthanised when they are no longer needed or maybe they die as part of the process but if possible, I'd be happy to take them and give them a nice home. I know that there is a woman in Wexford who has started to rescue hens when battery farms are finished with them and ready to slaughter them. They are usually in a bad way from being in tiny cages and pecking at themselves and each other in distress. They seem to get on great after a few weeks somewhere nicer though. I would like to do this with rats.

Does anyone have any ideas?

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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by siofradh on Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:02 am

hi! welcome to the forum. i dont think there are any places you can get ex tester rats at the minute, but every now and then they pop up somewhere. i actually had one, her name was minnie and she had a litter of babies who were all rescued along with daddyrat from a testing facility somewhere in ireland. when her bubs were weaned i took on minnie but she became really ill. she developed pneumonia and eventually died. what i was told is because the conditions are so sterile in laboritories they dont have any immunity to regular diseases so she wasnt able to fight off the infection. (not sure how true this is) this all happened within about a month and i was devastated. so if you manage to get your hands on some ex-testers please be prepared for a mountain of health problems! it is a lovely thing to be able to do though, i was so happy to of been able to give her a great life for the last of her days, even if it wasnt very long.
do let me know if you do find someone looking for homes for ex lab rats, id love to be able to rescue some more one day :3
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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by Zoundz on Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:13 am

I would imagine it goes on very very little - I think they are probably euthanised.

Good luck though, perhaps contact some labs? Smile

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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by Créatúirín on Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:19 am

Thanks Siofradh and Zoundz.

Maybe this is something that could be established. Siofradh, that's sad about little Minnie. Did you get any pictures of her? Was she very shy? I will certainly be letting you and everyone on this forum know if I do manage to set something up. It may take some time though. I will see if I know anyone working in a lab with rats and start there. I guess some breeders who breed rats for the pet industry and for feeding snakes might be suppliers to labs also and could help.

On the positive side, I read an article recently about how much respect scientists in one American University have for their lab rats and how aware they are of the millions of lives that have been saved by rats. I hope that goes for Irish scientists too. Pity the rest of the world doesn't think of that when they see a rat.

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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by Zoundz on Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:26 am

No-one breeds for labs - they are bred specially in special units so that they are completely free of disease. Labs buy them in then from these one or two specific breeders - certainly, no-one who breeds for snake food or petshops would supply labs as the rats would not be suitable at all.

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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by siofradh on Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:38 am

i have i think one picture of her somewhere! my camera was broken around the time of getting her and its only a crap quality phone piccie. she was a pink eyed white. funnily enough she was one of my friendliest rats. she adored cuddles and sitting in my dressing gown. super cuddly compared to my other girlies. they are always totally wired and running around like little crazies :3
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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by DJF on Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:03 am

My experience with labs in universities is such that they euthanise the old and infirm rats. The cadavers are then used for dissection in the teaching laboratories. I dissected a couple of rats at university a few years ago. Thankfully, I didn't pursue experimental aspects of biology and now do all my genetics on a computer! According to an immunologist friend, a criteria for animal work is that one does not keep said animals as pets due of course to the nature of what needs to be done.

I have no idea if euthanasia and dissection is the only end for lab rats. Seeing as I work at a university, I can fire off a few emails and find out for sure.
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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by DJF on Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:00 am

After much rooting around, annoying colleagues and friends, I doubt Russia under Stalin was as secretive as animal units in universities. The best I can gather is that they are nearly always euthanised but do have enrichment (hidey hole and chew toy) and increasingly rats are now rarely living solo. It is near impossible to rescue them, it seems. I will keep trying to get more info.
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Re: Rescue lab rats

Post by smokierat on Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:00 am

Ive come up against this secretive thing too-From talking to people i know who work in UCC-its all very hush hush-very much "i didnt tell you/youdidnt hear it from me" kind if thing

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