Supporter Roisin McAuley explains how rescued lab rats inspired her to fundraise for Animal Free Research UK at her wedding:
“When I was young my mum wore a t-shirt of a rabbit with weeping eyes—a result of cosmetic testing. The image stayed with me and I grew up knowing that all animal testing was unethical.
As I got older people began to challenge me on my views about medical testing. They questioned my morals—didn’t I take medicine? If a family member was sick, wouldn’t I want to develop a cure? These kinds of questions were difficult and confusing because I didn’t have the answers. As far as anyone knew, animal testing was embedded into medical research and there were no replacements. I felt helpless.
But that’s where two rescued lab rats and Animal Free Research UK come in. A few years ago I got a message from a friend. There were sixteen lab rats, a product of a failed lab study at Bristol University, that needed rehoming. I took two and named them Kale and Kiba.
Kale and Kiba changed everything. I quickly learned that they were intelligent, funny and playful creatures with distinct personalities. Kiba was shy, soft and preferred sweet food. Kale loved human company, was gentle, curious and had a soft spot for noodles. They felt pain, they showed signs of happiness but also of anxiety and stress. They were individuals who didn’t deserve to suffer for human self-interest.
Fast forward two years and I was getting married. Kiba had passed away and Kale was starting to get old and sick, he died two weeks before the wedding. I felt heartbroken and the familiar feeling of helplessness began creeping in. But then we had an idea: to honour the memory of Kale and Kiba we would ask for donations to Animal Free Research UK (AFRUK) instead of gifts.
AFRUK was the first organization I’d come across who were actively working to reduce animal suffering in medical testing. I was impressed by their research into replacing the use of animals in biomedical research, they presented compelling arguments and seemed so knowledgeable.
The response from our friends and family blew us away. The wedding day was perfect, but part of what made it so special was that we raised over £1400 for AFRUK. Those two little lab rats who changed our lives now have a lasting legacy. I feel confident that with this donation they will continue to change the lives of so many more sentient creatures.”