4 April 2020
Rats, as well as mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and other animals are subject to cruel animal tests for the sake of cosmetics, household and cleaning products. These include dermal toxicity, chronic toxicity, acute inhalation toxicity and oral toxicity animal safety tests. Rats are playful and loyal animals, all with individual personalities, and deserve to be free from confinement, research, torture and death at the end of a laboratory experiment.
Rats are endlessly fascinating little creatures with big personalities, and are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. They are observant and always alert. They use their acute senses of touch and smell and their whiskers to interpret their surroundings, as they do not have strong eyesight. Their tails give them balance, which makes them excellent climbers. Depending on their size and breed, some rats can squeeze through a gap 12mm wide and a hole the size of your thumb. They are excellent swimmers. Rats are fast learners once they have learnt a route, they will never forget it. Their complex systems of communication mean that they can communicate with each other at sound frequencies which humans cannot hear.
In a 2001 study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, it was shown that rats have complex dreams and are able to recall and retain information from the day and put these memories into their long-term memory whilst dreaming. This means that rats learn with the aid of their dream state. Before this research, only animals such as dolphins and chimps were thought to be able to recall and learn this way. Each rat also has their own signature pattern of brain waves, just as humans do.
Rats are very clean animals who groom themselves numerous times throughout the day, and are less likely to transmit parasites and viruses than dogs and cats. They are highly social animals who love to be in groups, spending their time playing and having fun. Whilst playing, rats let out a cheerful, high pitched squeak sound that is alike to the sound of laughter. Play is an important process in the development of a rat’s growing brain and necessary for its maturation and growth of their brain cells.
Rats love to be tickled, cuddle up to your shoulder, make a great companion and have the ability to form strong bonds with humans. This bond has been proven to be so strong, that if a rat is given away or forgotten, it becomes depressed and can even die from sadness. Rats deserve to be known for these positive qualities, and free from suffering and torture in a laboratory. They deserve freedom to express their natural states, to giggle, to play and to keep learning.
(excerpt from CCF Summer Newsletter 2017, by Amy Tobin)