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These Rescued Lab Animals in Fairy Tale Scenes Will Melt Your Heart

Curators’ Corner

These Rescued Lab Animals in Fairy Tale Scenes Will Melt Your Heart

Little is cuter in life than a photo of a fuzzy animal, but one Italian photographer steps up to the plate to challenge the infamous Internet cat pics for the title of most darling, and also heart-wrenching, animals to grace your screen. Rachele Totaro collaborates with the Italian charity La Collina dei Conigli to rescue lab animals in an effort to find them loving forever homes.

La Collina dei Conigli volunteers step in to recover bred-for-testing lab rats, subject mice, and literal guinea pigs before they are euthanatized. Every year, the charity releases a calendar featuring Totaro’s photos of some of the rescued creatures to bring awareness to animal rights and the plight of lab animals.

“Animals and photography are my greatest passions in life,” Totaro shared on BoredPanda, “Most of the rescues had been used in labs for painful tests, and without volunteers would have been euthanized at the end [of] the study. But Italian law allows for registered organizations to step in and save them, and that’s exactly what La Collina Dei Conigli does.

Totaro told Huffington Post, “Many people have no idea that animals previously used in labs can start a new, pain-free life and make gorgeous companions, or that rats are a lot of fun and among the most clever animals. These animals were considered objects for the first part of their lives … what the volunteers do is [make] them feel and be wonderful sentient live beings again, and with my pictures I try and celebrate their now precious lives.”

This year’s calendar theme was “Fairy Tale,” as Tortaro photographed the animals in all sorts of familiar children’s story settings, evoking the childlike sense of adoration of all things, particularly those that are small and fuzzy.

Sharing with Huffington Post her favorite model, Tortaro explained the first time Opicina, a white rabbit, ever stepped paw outside: “It was the most magical moment … It was the first time she felt grass underneath her feet, and she moved in a delicate way.”

These precious photos act as a gentle reminder that even through hard times, happy endings are possible. Check in with us here at Duggal Connect regularly for more inspirational stories showing the power of photography.

Images © Rachele Totaro