Just like humans, rats are complex, highly social individuals with their own unique personalities. They need companionship, love their own families, and laugh when being tickled. They experience the spectrum of life’s emotions, including joy, excitement, and sadness. In all the ways that really matter, rats are just like us. So imagine how they must feel when they’re being tormented at the hands of humans.
Human speciesism ignorantly justifies the rampant suffering and killing of rats. PETA has numerous ongoing campaigns to save rats from deadly experiments, the cruel pet trade, and torturous glue traps. But we can only do so with your help.
We owe it to these wonderful animals to protect them from harm, especially in a year that’s dedicated to them. Below are some things that you can do to help rats in 2020.
Help Get Millions of Rats out of Hellish Laboratories
For nearly four decades, PETA has worked to stop all animal testing. But no other animals suffer in ghastly experiments more than rats and mice do. More than 100 million mice and rats are killed in U.S. laboratories every year. Every one of these deaths resembles a scene from a gruesome horror movie more than actual science.
Rats are poisoned to death, burned, mutilated, starved, electrocuted, drowned, force-fed drugs, given painful tumors, infected with deadly diseases, operated on while fully conscious, and subjected to other horrors. Experiments such as the forced swim and footshock tests induce terror, anxiety, depression, and helplessness in these sensitive individuals. Studies have found that mice, rats, and other small animals are so fearful for their lives that their heartbeat increases rapidly just at the sound of an experimenter turning a doorknob before walking into a laboratory.
Even though these animals are as capable of experiencing suffering as dogs and cats are, they aren’t protected by even the meager provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, which governs the treatment of animals in laboratories. Because mice and rats aren’t shielded by the law, experimenters don’t have to provide them with proper pain relief or even count the number they kill!
Shut Down the Rat and Mice Pet Trade
Rats and mice are often purchased on a whim as gifts and mistakenly thought of as “starter pets.” Potential caretakers rarely understand the complex needs of their new companions. Once the novelty has worn off, many small animals are neglected, left at animal shelters, or simply turned loose outdoors, where they have little chance of surviving.
Animals sold in big-box pet stores often come from breeding mills, where they experience severe crowding and neglect. Seven eyewitness investigations—conducted between 2004 and 2016—of dealers that supplied animals to Petco or PetSmart revealed that the animals faced filthy, abusive conditions. A separate investigation in 2018 showed that multiple mice at a Nashville PetSmart store were bloated, had discharge coming from their eyes and ears, and struggled to breathe. When one developed a swollen face and began walking with a head tilt, supervisors said that they could “squish” or freeze him to death. The store manager said, “He’s just a mouse. Who cares?”
Stop Using Deadly Glue Traps
Thanks to efforts by PETA and our supporters, hundreds of retailers and other entities have ditched glue traps—and for good reason. Rats suffer immensely on such traps. As the terrified animals desperately struggle to escape the adhesive, they often tear patches of skin and fur off and will even attempt to chew off their own legs.
It can take days for an animal stuck on a glue trap to die from asphyxiation, blood loss, dehydration, exhaustion, or shock—an undeniably cruel fate for any individual to endure. Glue trap manufacturers direct consumers to throw the devices—even when they contain live animals—into the garbage. As a result, many rats are slowly crushed to death under piles of trash.
If you need to evict a mouse from your house, try humane methods instead.