From 19-24 April 2021, a special rehoming service will open its doors to Australians wanting to support animals coming out of research facilities. Liberty Foundation is Australia’s first service dedicated solely to rehoming the full range of animals from science and research, as pets and companions.
The launch week is significant for another reason, according to founder and director of Liberty Foundation, Paula Wallace: “We think World Laboratory Animal Week is a good time to let everyone know that we are here and to take a moment to remember that there are many animals in laboratories around the world, including here in Australia. The good news is that an increasing number of them are finding a new life outside of research as pets and valued members of families and communities around Australia.”
Liberty Foundation started rehoming in late 2017 and since that time has found loving forever homes for more than 350 animals from research facilities. They include rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, fish, dogs and cats. It has rehoming agreements in place with a number of large research establishments in New South Wales and plans to expand nationally.
“We have built up the charity to a point where we can officially launch as a professional, effective and sustainable service that puts the needs of animals at the forefront of everything we do,” said Ms Wallace. “Our activities to date have proven that these animals can achieve a very high quality of life and transition well to life outside the research establishment.
“From the 19-24th of April we’ll be encouraging members of the public to find out more about Liberty Foundation through our website and other channels. We will be releasing special videos every day on Facebook and our YouTube channel that demonstrate the values of our organisation: compassion, inclusion, joy, hope and love.”
There are literally millions of animals used for research and scientific purposes in Australia each year, across a wide range of species from livestock to natives and companion animals. They are used in a range of settings such as universities, hospitals, agriculture, medical and veterinary research and government facilities.
While it’s difficult to ascertain how many animals might be suitable for rehoming from the millions used each year for scientific and research purposes, it is estimated that there may be around 1,000 dogs and 500 cats each year in NSW, along with thousands of smaller animals.
“It is safe to say that most of these animals would have been euthanised. While there are some progressive research establishments already rehoming their animals, the vast majority are humanely killed when they are no longer needed,” Ms Wallace said. "We have had the support of some very proactive research establishments that have come onboard to try something new and to provide more sustainable outcomes for the animals in their care.”
Liberty Foundation was recognised last October at the Jetpets Companion Animals Rescue Awards, taking out the category of “Outstanding New Rescue Group”.
The organisation works on a foster/adopt model and places animals within the community. It hopes to establish a sanctuary in the future with the support of donors and people joining the organisation for an annual membership fee.
“People can go to our website and join up as a member right now. It’s a way to show your support and stay connected with us through our regular email newsletter,” Ms Wallace said. “Animals in research are part of our community, they are not forgotten, they are not invisible, they are beautiful and they are part of us. It is up to us to provide a place for them to live out the course of their natural lives in peace after their time in research. In many cases, they have nowhere else to go.”
You can find out more about Liberty Foundation at: