Michelle stanley art auction - Take action (4)

Recognise Rats This #WorldRatDay In Our Art Auction on April 4th

April 4th marks World Rat Day, a day set aside to appreciate the often reviled and ignored lives of rats. Despite their historical bad PR, rats lead emotionally complex lives and many scientists and advocate for an end to their use in scientific research.  Sadly, the use of rats in Australian research is widespread. On a positive note, there is a growing consensus within the scientific community that experiments on rats are unnecessarily cruel and wasteful. There are now better ways to do research. 

Art for Advocacy: A Compassionate Auction

In commemoration of World Rat Day, Animal-Free Science Advocacy is hosting an auction of emotionally evocative rat illustrations by artist and animal rights advocate Michelle Stanley. These artworks not only highlight the beauty of rats, but also serve as a poignant call to action.

Auction Start Date: Midnight 3rd of April, 2024

Auction End Date: Midnight 10th of April 2024. 

Beautiful by Michelle Stanley

Rats exhibit regret and even dream about the future

Rats are recognised for their complex cognitive and emotional lives, including the ability to laugh, show empathy, and possess memory capabilities similar to humans. Studies highlight rats’ abilities to engage in sophisticated social interactions, exhibit regret, and even dream about the future. Despite these attributes, they are often subjected to harsh treatments in research settings, a practice increasingly questioned due to ethical considerations. There is a growing number of researchers and body of research which challenges the conventional view of rats and calls for a reevaluation of their use in scientific studies. (2.)

Make your bid count for rats and science!

Your participation in this auction is more than just purchasing a nice artwork for your home, it’s about supporting a paradigm shift in Australian scientific research. Place your bid and be part of the change. 

Help us steer towards a future where experimentation respects all forms of sentient life. Visit the auction website and make your bid count for rats and science alike.

Loved by Michelle Stanley
Bonded pair by Michelle Stanley

All about rat sentience

  • Discovery of Laughter: Rats laugh in ultrasonic chirps during play, showing joy.
  • Complex Cognition: Rats can reminisce, plan, and trade goods, demonstrating advanced cognitive abilities.
  • Emotional Depth: Exhibiting regret and superior learning in some tasks, rats display complex emotions.
  • Empathy in Action: Studies show rats demonstrate empathy, refusing to harm peers for food, and aiding distressed rats, challenging the notion of their self-centered nature.
  • Ethical Dilemmas: Despite evidence of their complex emotional lives, rats are often subjected to harmful research, raising significant ethical concerns about their treatment in science. ( 1, 2)

Learn more about animal-free methods

There are now many human-relevant alternatives to animal research that are already available and in use. These include the use of human tissue and organ cells, leveraging existing data, microdosing, microfluidic chips, non-invasive imaging techniques, and more. 

These methods not only respect animal lives but also offer a closer approximation to human physiological and metabolic processes. Animal-free methods enhance the reliability and applicability of research findings to humans. Explore these alternatives in more detail on the Better Ways To Do Research page. 

Michelle stanley art auction - Happiness
Michelle stanley art auction - Relaxed


1. Andrews, K., & Monsó, S. (n.d.). Why don’t rats get the same ethical protections as primates? Aeon. Retrieved from https://aeon.co/essays/why-dont-rats-get-the-same-ethical-protections-as-primates

2. Bekoff, M. (2020, February). Sentient rats: Their cognitive, emotional, and moral lives. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/animal-emotions/202002/sentient-rats-their-cognitive-emotional-and-moral-lives



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