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Rats Are Nice. Vivisectors? Not So Much.

Written by PETA | December 14, 2011
© Jessica Florence

A new experiment has once again shown that rats in laboratories have empathy for one another. In the experiment, one rat was placed in a cage with another rat who was stuffed into a tiny tube from which he or she was unable to escape. The “free” rat worked frantically to get his or her distressed friend out, even when a tempting chocolate treat was offered as a distraction.

This is far from the first time that altruism has been seen in animals used for experimentation. In one notoriously cruel experiment, macaque monkeys were given food only if they pulled a chain that electrically shocked another monkey. Nearly all the monkeys preferred to go hungry, and one macaque starved himself for 12 days. Monkeys who had previously been shocked were even more reluctant to pull the chain and subject another individual to such punishment. In PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights, she quotes astronomer Carl Sagan, who asks, “If the circumstances were reversed, and captive humans were offered the same deal by macaque scientists, would we do as well?”

Millions of kind, intelligent rats and other animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year in cruel experiments. You can show your empathy by clicking here to urge members of Congress to amend the Animal Welfare Act to include the protection of both rats and mice. Also, please only support companies and charities that don’t test on animals.

Written by Monica Alexander

Commenting is closed.
  • tar kriszta says:

    Sing up!

  • Petra says:

    I hate all vivisectors and I hope one day they will have to stop doing this.

  • stephen kemp says:

    all experiments must stop there must be other ways in this day and age and there so cruel needless , leave the animals alone and in peace

  • Brandon says:

    Ash, I hope you have never taken an antibiotic, insulin, vaccination, or general purpose treatment of a medical condition. If you have (or plan to seek medical attention in the future) you are redeeming the benefits of years of animal research. I am in a scientific field that uses animals for research and I personally do not know anyone that experiments on animals for pleasure. Animal experimentation is often a necessary step in elucidating genetic disorders, or the development of a treatment to improve the quality of human life. If you don’t agree with that, fine. You certainly can make the decision to abstain from modern medical practices, even when you will be in need of the medical attention at some point in your life.

  • debbie says:

    It’s such a cruel practice why is it still happening in this century.

  • Jennifer Cuadra says:

    Empathy and life for all creatures!!!

  • Ioana Cristina Pop says:


  • SUSAN says:


  • Pankaj says:

    I am from INDIA. I have done my best to support PETA in all possible ways back here in INDIA. Can I urge to the government of U.S.A for same? Please guide me how.

  • Reiko Scharf says:

    Stoppt endlich die Versuche an Nagern und anderen Tieren.

  • derer says:

    stop à la cruauté inutile

  • Aristotelis says:

    How ignorant and stupid can u be to hurt these little defenseless creatures??? Shame on you “people”…

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Here is a little more information on Father Kolbe and the lives he saved from literally thousands of miles away, also during WWII. From 1930 to 1936, Father Kolbe was stationed in Nagasaki, Japan. While there, he founded a monestary and built it on the side of a mountain that was against Japanese beliefs; the Japanese customs stated it should be built on the other side of the mountain to be mor in harmony with nature. In August, 1945, 2 days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States directly hit Nagasaki with the second atomic bomb. The monestary and all inside it surived the blast because the other side of the mountain (the side the Japanese had wanted the monestary built on) absorped the full force of the blast. When officials came a few days later to measure the radiation levels in the people and surroundings, the levels of radiation in the building and in the monks were normal! The monks also were able to give emergency treatment to the citizens of Nagasaki. Father Kolbe had been killed by this time and never learned about the results of his decision of where to place the monestary.

  • Rat King says:

    Stop all vivisection on ALL species – also rats – because they are less close to humans than the chimps, hence vivisection on rats is useless! No speciesism! No speciesism! No speciesism! Giving chimps and other species preferences would throw back the whole endeavours for animal protection over years!

  • Julia says:

    Stop this ridiculous actions! Rats are not for you to do experiment on it!! They are little, but still a lovable animals. You have no right to do this, you do not owned their lives. Please stop this.

  • Katrina Kroneberg says:

    Rev. Meg Schramm, What a wonderful story to share. It truly shows that Father Kolbe did what Jesus would have done in that situation and has already done for all of us way in advance. I will be saving this story and sharing it. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and Happy Holidays.

  • Ash says:

    These poor innocent animals do not deserve this. Don’t these people know better? How can they live with themselves. No animal or living creature deserves to be experimented on. Although I must say personally I’d like to experiement on people that harm these beautiful animals. These babies deserve to have the life that we would want ourselelves, filled with love and compassion. How can they live with themselves harming them?

  • Ash says:

    ALL living creatures deserve to live a life we would want for ourselves, with love and compassion. No creature deserves to be harmed by experiments or by anything for that matter. As humans we should know better. How can these people live with themselves?

  • sholloway96 says:

    The photographer deserves an award for this photo. It has to be the cutest picture ever taken of rats!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I don’t know if humans would act altruistically if they were in the same situation as the macaques or rats, but I do remember the story of Father Kolbe, a Catholic priest imprisoned in a concentration camp during WWII. A prisoner in his barracks had gone missing, and when the guards were unable to find the missing man, 10 other men were chosen to be put into the starvation cells until they died. One of the prisoners cried out about what would happen to his wife and children; at that point Father Kolbe stepped out of line (that alone could have gotten him killed) and asked one of the guards if he could substitute for that prisoner, as Father Kolbe was a priest and had no family. At first the guards could not believe it and then realized Father Kolbe was serious so they made the switch. Father Kolbe was the last of the men to die in the starvation cells; and even then they had to inject him with carbolic acid to kill him. When he realized he was going to be killed he simply held out his arm. The prisoner he saved survived the war, found his wife and his children, and lived to be in his 90s. All of his life he told the world what Father Kolbe did for him. So yes, humans do have the power to be altruistic; whether they actually are depends on who they are deep in their soul. One never knows what one will do in a situation until one is in that situation.