Laboratory animals get a second chance in the Netherlands

Mice and rats get a second chance after laboratory life
Mice and rats get a second chance after laboratory life, Photo by May on Unsplash

The University of Utrecht in Holland is working together with animal welfare organizations to give their small laboratory animals, like mice and rats, a forever home.

For larger ex-experimental animals such as dogs and cats, people try to find them a home. With small animals, this was not the case. Animals welfare organizations wanted to change that.

Since October last year, a pilot started to save small laboratory animals. So far, 156 mice and 8 rats have been relocated. Employees of Animal Rights picked up many of these animals and brought them to their new homes.

One of those owners is the Dutch Jeroen de Hoog. He took in seven rescued mice and gave them a new life. “I was looking for mice as a companion for the one mouse I already have. My pen is large enough to house eight mice. I want to give them (the seven mice) a second life”, Jeroen told the Dutch news organization RTL Nieuws.

Encourage more universities to save small animals
The Univerisity of Utrecht hopes that the initiative will be widely followed: “We will take our story to national and international conferences to discuss the results with colleagues. Some think that large numbers of rodents can never all be placed, but so far it is going well. More than a hundred animals have already been relocated in six months. So we are hopeful,” a spokesperson of the university said.

Doing experiments on animals still happens daily. Even after many studies have been done questioning how effective animal testing actually is. Most tests are done on mice and rats. Rabbits and guinea pigs are also commonly used, and smaller amounts of dogs, mostly beagles and non-human primates.

Worldwide, the number of animals used in animal experiments annually is estimated at 115 million. The few animals that survive the experiments are often greatly damaged, both physically and mentally.

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