by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes.

peta rat

In an interesting reversal of opinion on the genetic engineering of animals, PETA today announced the results of an effort to create a more appealing breed of rat. The animal rights organization has been working with French scientists at the National Institute of Agronomic research (the same guys who developed a glow-in-the-dark rabbit), for the better part of a year on the project. The new breed of rat features a fluffy bunny-like tail; replacing the old, unappealing long pink tail.

“People are almost certain to be kinder to a tiny mammal with a powder-puff tail,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Not only would this pay off in cities that kill these animals with gut-wrenching poisons, it would also make it harder for lab assistants to force-feed toxic chemicals to them or for homeowners to watch them struggle in cruel glue traps.”

The hope is that once a viable population of rats with the dominant “fluffy tail” gene are created, they can be released to breed with rats in places like New York City, Los Angeles, and other major cities.

What do you think of PETA’s new rat? Are they on to something by creating cute versions of animals that we might not otherwise find attractive; and therefore, care less about? Or did they just blow your mind with the point of all this?

via PETA (Grin)

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Birdfeed

    You do realize today is April Fools’ Day, right?

  • Manuel

    April fools?

  • georgina0912

    Si, definitely April Fool’s.

    I do not think scientists would care for a cute rat when they already force feed cute rabbits, cute dogs, cute kitties, and cute hamsters with all kinds of poisons and chemicals…

  • JP


    Do you prefer that scientist use human for their tests?

    • Dgrede

      and to your question YES!!! they should, if what they are testing is meant to be for humans then it should be tested on humans. why would a rat give up her presious life for lipstick or any others things. there are other ways to test products such as computer programs, robots, and lab made tissue. animals do not belong in labs.

      • herwin

        actually many medicines have been developed only by observing sick people and consequently developing and testing a new drug on sick people instead of testing on animals.
        why should you artificially make rats sick, and than study the disease on rats, and develop medicines on these same sick rats, while its much better to study the disease on already sick humans. Chimpansees, animals that unlike humans don’t die of AIDS and simple respond to this disease completely diferent than humans, are used for aids tests, its ridiciously unscientific, but its big busines and its hard to stop big busines.

      • Aymee

        Herwin, it’s ironic you should mention chimpanzees and the AIDS virus. Scientists predict the root of the AIDS virus came from the simian immunodeficiency virus. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s when they created the Malaria vaccine they used liver extract form African blue monkeys and a small portion from chimpanzees to create the vaccine. The strand from the African blue monkeys could not be transmitted to humans however, since chimpanzees were more closely related the vaccines derived from the chimps could. As you mentioned chimps can live with the disease and not be effected which is why when they did the testing on the chimpanzees they showed no signs of illness. If they had used regenerated human organs they might have been able to detect a problem with using the vaccine and prevented the spread of the AIDS virus.

      • herwin

        aymeen, i didnt know these details but it fits in the general pattern that animal testing really deranges real scientific progres for developing medicen.
        most famous is penicillin which is developed without animal testing. thisd miracle drugs cures people but rabbits die from it. Would this medicine be developed using animals like rabbits, this medicine would be classified as deadly and never would the medical qualities be discovered of penicillin.

    • Whoever…

      First of all, there’s already enough data and technology to end right now all animal testing regarding cosmetics and house cleaning products – there are plenty of brands (a very famous one is Avon) that have products which aren’t tested on animals and I have never heard of any problems such products have caused.

      When it comes to medical testing, do you know that after all the tests they perform on animals they still have to test new drugs, treatments, etc. on people before they can be used in the general population?

      Therefore why not perform all those initial tests using alternative methods and then test on humans?
      And instead of having the death penalty in some countries (the USA is a very ‘good’ example) why not let criminals on death row live and test on them? Why not? If the ‘system’ believes they deserve to die why not let them be useful and give something back to society?

      Oh, and do you know why big pharmaceutical companies still test on animals? Because, besides the fact that animals ‘don’t have rights’ and aren’t able to sue them, pharmaceutical companies also get huge subsidies to perform animal testing.
      So, everything those pseudo scientists tell us about testing on animals being necessary is nothing but a bunch of lies!!

      If after all this time and with all this technology these ‘scientists’ can’t make new medical discoveries and breakthroughs without testing on animals then they’re not that intelligent are they?

      • Magpie

        As for why testing on people on death row is not viable: A) I’m willing to best most individuals with the death penalty fall into a specific demographic, which would not offer a sample size large or diverse enough for total accuracy. B) Because according to medical law you are required to have the written consent of any human being you choose to utilize in testing. C), because the reason we have so many people on death row is not that there are just that many horrible, useless, and dangerous people in the world… Most of these people extend their lives for decades or get commuted to life in prison because of the number of appeals death row convicts are allowed to make. It’s an expensive and scientifically unsound proposal. Most people on death row are black or white males. What about all the conditions that hit women disproportionately? There are currently exactly 4 women on death row in the state of New York, for example.

  • georgina0912

    @JP – No. Did i imply that in my posting?

    Nowadays there are other, cheaper alternatives to animal testing such as corrositex or synthetic skin, and computer modeling. There is no need whatsoever to use animals in lab experiments.

    But, when the question becomes “how efficient or reliable is animal testing?” then scientists should at the very least use human cell cultures. Animals and humans are not exactly alike at cellular level, so why subject those creatures to painful procedures when the results will not be 100% reliable?

  • Aymee

    A rats tail is not a vestigial appendage. It helps them balance when climbing. To take it away makes the rat as vulnerable as a baby rabbit and will be wiped out by natural predators. This is one of the silliest things I have heard yet. Trying to convince people that rats are adorable is like trying to convince people that all babies are cute. It’s not going to happen. As far as the animal testing goes John Hopkins University has an entire department on alternatives to animal testing for every test required which have proven to be less costly and more efficient. The only reason half the companies still do animal testing is because they don’t want to put forth the research or the up front costs to reconstruct their testing labs. You don’t need to test on animals or people. You simply need to test on lab tissue and regenerated organ tissues of humans which, surprise, actually have the same biological chemistry as a human. This means safer products and safer animals.

  • Jane Zarnick

    Balanced meals like chicken (no skin), vegetable, whole grain bread. No sugar.