Rats Who Care…

 – – It’s OK to call someone a “dirty rat,”  as rats do get dirty;  it might not, however, be scientifically supportable to refer to rats as uncaring in light of a new University of Chicago study on empathy-driven behavior in rodents. 

Appearing in the prestigious journal Science, the results of this landmark study show that untrained laboratory rats will free restrained companions,  even when those restrained rats are not in pain.  Rats will even choose to free other restrained rats when offered the alternative activity of feasting on chocolate!  Greater love hath no rat than this…

The new study on rats sets a precedent for future research on sentient and empathic animals; it’s also safe based on what we know to assume that numerous other animals display empathy, which is thought to have deep evolutionary, biochemical, and neurological underpinnings. 

Findings of empathy in animals may force uncomfortable questions about how humans treat animals, especially with regards to horrific invasive research.  Birds, rats, and mice are presently excluded from some federal legislative definitions of animals, with only about 1% of the animals used in research in the United States currently protected by legislation.

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3 Comments on “Rats Who Care…”

  1. carycomic Says:

    And, watch out if some of them get into neglected bins of steroid-enhanced cattle feed!*

    *A “DEADLY EYES” (see Imdb) reference.


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