Retired Swiss lab rats to be given loving homes under new scheme
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) has announced that it will be handing over retired lab rats to the Swiss Animal Protection Organisation (SAP). The SAP confirmed that they will then attempt to find the little critters new homes.
Rats will be given forever homes throughout Switzerland
Lab rats are still regularly used by Swiss universities and other research facilities in behavioural experiments. In 2020, rats accounted for 9,5 percent of animals used in experiments in Switzerland, behind mice and birds.
The EPFL said that it would donate retired lab rats to the SAP, paying for accommodation and care for 30 days. During this time, the SAP will be tasked with acclimatising the animals to the outside world and will help find them forever homes with Swiss families and individuals.
350 rats currently in use in Lausanne
Currently, EPFL has 350 rats in use in experiments, who will retire in the coming years. The idea comes from a similar programme launched in Zurich which saw 300 lab rats re-homed throughout the city.
While the scheme is only expected to attract a few people a month, if numbers increase and the system works well, the idea may spread to other animals. The EPFL said that if the scheme succeeds, non-genetically modified mice and zebrafish may be the next creatures to be given a new life outside the lab.