Six Rats Available for Adoption Die After U. of Houston Transports Them in Hot Car

PETA Asks District Attorney to Investigate

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Houston – After a yearlong open-records battle, PETA has obtained documents revealing that a University of Houston–Clear Lake (UHCL) employee crammed 10 rats into a plastic carrier meant for only six and that had a broken ventilation fan and left them locked in a car on a day that temperatures reached 80-degrees. PETA is calling on the district attorney’s office to investigate and, if appropriate, file charges against the employees responsible for the suffering of all 10 rats and the deaths of six. The rats were previously used in experiments in an undergraduate psychology course at the school and were supposed to be adopted at the conclusion of the course.

“The University of Houston needs to stop tormenting animals both in and out of the classroom,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “We are pushing the DA to take action and investigate immediately.”

The just-obtained records show that the rats died in April 2016, just two months after a student called PETA to report that the rats in the UHCL course—during which they were deprived of food and “trained” to press a lever to obtain food—were distressed, were apparently paralyzed with fear, and cried out when students handled them. UHCL wrote to the Texas attorney general’s office to try to withhold these documents from PETA and, after a year, released only partial information. The school has appealed again to the attorney general’s office to withhold additional information relating to the rats’ deaths and the use of animals at the university.

PETA has repeatedly called on UHCL to replace this archaic experiment with modern methods and has offered to donate a high-tech computer-based simulation program that teaches the same principles and is widely used in university classrooms across the country.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind