Prosocial behavior in rats is influenced by social experience and familiarity.
We can only hope these findings will be used to protect rats and other rodents from being used in horrific invasive research. Although it’s been known for more than five years that mice display empathy this has not been factored into a revision of the Federal Animal Welfare Act in the United States. Rodents and many millions of other animals who comprise more than 99% of the animals used in invasive research can still be greatly harmed or killed “in the name of science.”
Indeed, the Animal Welfare Act does not consider them to be “animals”. Only about 1 percent of animals used in research in the United States are protected by legislation and the legislation is sometimes amended in nonsensical ways to accommodate the “needs” of researchers.
by Marc Bekoff