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How to adopt lab rats?

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:55 pm
by mitchw1

I'm hoping that someone might be able to help or offer some advice on a topic that is proving harder than I first imagined.
Slightly different from the norm, i'm looking for ways to adopt/rehome former Laboratory rats, ones that have been retired from "use" and are now looking for a happy home in line with the guidelines for those that can be.
i can find lots of information and details for this in the likes of the USA, but seems incredibly hard to find any in this situation in the UK? ideally Northern England.
Any advice would be massively appreciated.


Re: How to adopt lab rats?

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:19 pm
by cyber ratty
As far as I am aware, it's not possible to legally acquire rats from labs in the UK.

Re: How to adopt lab rats?

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:46 pm
by HereticPr1me
They *can* be, but its a condition of the license whereby the experiments are such that the animal can be rehomed at the end of the study.
It does happen in the UK, I have two myself that were used in "behavioural" experiments at a university lab. I know someone who also had a rabbit where iirc the animal tech had to get the license ammended in order to release the rabbit to her.

The point is, there *are* mechanisms to do it, but I think its knowing someone at the lab/uni in order to make it happen.
I dont know of anyone actually specialising in lab rescues, sadly, but thats maybe an avenue to explore.

Perhaps just straight up contact your local uni and try to start a productive dialogue.
Queens Uni in Belfast operates an animal lab

Re: How to adopt lab rats?

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:26 pm
by mitchw1
Thanks Mary, we've done some reading up on it and there are guidelines in place that allow for them to be rehomed to go on and live a happy life. just seems incredibly hard to find out more about how. if you're interested in the guidelines for it here is a line to info on RSPCA website: ... e/rehoming

thanks for getting back to me though :) hopefully someone out there can help

Re: How to adopt lab rats?

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:18 pm
by ScissorCrow
Not especially helpful, but information nonetheless:

In 2013 I rehomed 4 males through this forum from a uni lab in Durham

I contacted them last year about the possibility of rehoming some more and got this response
I have spoken to my colleagues about this. The number of rats involved in our research has dropped significantly over the last few years, as such was there is no supply of rats for the rehoming programme and it was therefore closed. Thank you for your kind offer to rehome and I’m sorry that we couldn’t provide anything for you.

Best wishes


Niall O’Loughlin

Head of Research Policy
I think the person who posted the board requesting homes was flat mates with someone on a course who was working with the rats, and they were able to get permission to rehome. The response I got made it seemed like a common occurrence but I have no idea if that was the case.