In Defence of Rats and Mice

 

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People tend to care about dogs because they generally have more experience with dogs as companions; but other animals are as capable of suffering as dogs are. Few people feel sympathy for rats. Yet rats are intelligent animals, and there can be no doubt that rats are capable of suffering and do suffer from countless painful experiments performed on them. If the army were to stop experiments on dogs and switch to rats instead, we should not be any less concerned.
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Typically, defenders of experiments on animals do not deny that animals suffer. They cannot deny the animals' suffering, because they need to stress the similarities between humans and other animals in order to claim that their experiments may have some relevance for human purposes. The experimenter who forces rats to choose between starvation and electric shock to see if they develop ulcers (which they do) does so because the rat has a nervous system very similar to a human being's, and presumably feels an electric shock in a similar way.
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Today I am going to make a stand in defence of rats and mice who are probably the most neglected and abused animals on the planet.
 

Why defend rats and Mice

Facts about rats and mice that you may not know or have considered.

Rats and mice are highly intelligent, as intelligent as your dog or cat. Like your dog or cat, rats and mice learn and respond to their names. They excel at learning and understand concepts, their memories are outstanding; once rats learn a navigation route, they never forget it. Both rats and mice are social creatures, they form strong bonds with one another and sleep curled up together. Rats are good mothers and like many animals they are playful creatures.

Fact - Did you know that rats are less likely than your cat or dog to catch and transmit parasites and viruses?  In fact rats are very clean animals spending many hours each day grooming themselves and each other. Yet many people continue with the misconception that rats are the purveyors of disease and should be eradicated at all costs.

Fact - Rats and mice make up about a fifth of all species of Mammals, rodents are more closely related to humans than are dogs, cats, horses, elephants, whales, dolphins, and every other order except nonhuman primates.

Why do few people defend rats and mice.

So why do few people defend the rights of rats and mice. Why is it that many turn a blind eye to the cruelty that they suffer at the hand of human beings in labs and elsewhere

The human aversion to rats and mice is often extended to other rodents,  including prairie dogs,  gophers,  squirrels, beavers,  muskrats,  and nutria,  who are similarly killed en masse in various parts of the world where they are considered to be “invasive.”

But even people who would not countenance any mistreatment of squirrels,  chipmunks,  prairie dogs,  or beavers will often kill rats and mice by horrendously cruel means,  or look the other way while others do the killing,  using glue-traps,  bone-crushing spring traps,  and an array of poisons which may not be legally used against other species. Why are we horrified when cats and dogs are the subjects of cruel experiment yet think its okay to harm rats and mice?

There are so few people prepared to defend the rights of rats and mice as they do other animals, the exception being pet rats and mice who are usually white in colour rather than brown or grey, the colours of their undomesticated counterparts. It appears to me that of those of us dedicated to animal rights or animal welfare or whose of us who are vegetarian or vegan,  few speak out against the cruel treatment of these rodents. Googling something along the lines of “do vegans care about rats and mice” and you will find little information in support of animal welfare or animal rights concerning rats and mice, few stand in defence of these rodents who are like any other mammal such as your cat, dog, rabbit or guinea pig - the last of which is of course a rodent. So far the only significant stand in defence of these animals is from the people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA and even they actually condone euthanasia in certain circumstances. More about this further down.

So who does care about rats or mice?
Most of us abhor experiments on animals, poisoning animals or indeed any cruelty to any creature, yet few extend such concerns to rats and mice whom it appears are the exception.

Few people, even animal rights campaigners respect rodents - at least the common brown or grey rat or the house mouse. There are exceptions but few in number

The petition below Which is now closed is somewhat unusual:

Help Stop the Suffering caused by Rat Poison!

The petition above states:
“Every day, thousands of rats, mice and other rodents are killed across the world. This is often necessary to protect food and hygiene.”

Personally I would not kill rats or mice for this reason, there are more humane ways to deter rodents.

You can find humane rodent deterrent information further down. 

No doubt poison is used as this is the cheaper option. The petition goes on to say:

"However, most of these rodents are killed by poison- specifically 'anticoagulant' poisons. These are by most accounts extremely inhumane, and better methods are available. These poisons give the animal that eat them anything but a nice death. Rats and mice take an average of around 7 days to die after poisoning, and spend much of this time in severe pain. Anticoagulant poisons work by causing internal bleeding. They die paralysed and in pain, from blood loss and internal organ damage."

Such treatment of any sentient creature is unforgivable and can never be justified.

Please read the following even if you do not live in the USA as it gives information concerning the shocking treatment of these rodents that occurs in laboratories the world over.

“More than 100 million mice and rats are killed in U.S. laboratories every year. They are abused in everything from toxicology tests (in which they are slowly poisoned to death) to painful burn experiments to psychological experiments that induce terror, anxiety, depression, and helplessness.

They are deliberately electroshocked in pain studies, are mutilated in experimental surgeries, and have everything from cocaine to methamphetamine pumped into their bodies. They are given cancerous tumors and are injected with human cells in genetic-manipulation experiments.”

Continue reading the list of atrocities get more and more horrific :
http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-laboratories/mice-rats-laboratories/#ixzz2wbT9BvKT

Such treatment of a thinking feeling animal is, cruel, inhumane and inexcusable.

The following article lists
Five Reasons Why You Should Care About Rats
http://www.peta.org/blog/care-rats/#ixzz2wACcaQCa The video included in this link may not working. If this is the case:

Please watch here:

Investigation Reveals Hell on Earth for Animals at California Dealer

 

Now please watch the video: Who Cares About Mice and Rats?

 

Also read:

The hidden lives of rats and mice
http://www.peta.org/features/hidden-lives-rats-mice/

Rats are very social and affectionate animals. They love being in the company of their own species or humans. They like playing together and love to sleep curled up together. They take care of the injured and sick rats in their group. When rats don't have companionship, they can become lonely, depressed, anxious and stressed.

Rats are intelligent animals. They are more intelligent than rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs for instance. They also have excellent memories. Once rats learn a navigation route, they never forget it.

Read more:
http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Rats.htm 

Still not convinced rats are like any other mammal and deserve our respect and consideration.

View:
23 adorable photos that will change the way you think about rats.

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/23-adorable-photos-that-will-change-the-way-you-think-about-rats

Action you can take to help rats and mice:

Who cares about rats and mice

Please send a letter or e-mail to to your member of Congress urging him or her to push for the amendment of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to include mice and rats.
https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1720

Many people however remain concerned when rats or mice encroach their lives.

What to do about rodents in your home or elsewhere where they are not wanted.

Like any other animal, rats or mice may not be welcome - I don't like cats in my yard because of our adopted rabbit who likes to wander about the yard. Cats can attack a rabbit and so can rats, our rabbit Sooty was bitten by a rat.  I would rather not have rats in the yard or mice if they got into the house as is possible as our back door is always open for our house rabbit to come and go as he pleases. Equally I would not want someone’s cat in our house either. This does not mean I lay traps or put down poison for the rats or mice any more than I would for the cat: the cat, the rat and the mouse are all living beings with the right to life as much as you or I or my rabbit.

So what to do

Glue traps and poisons are inhumane and cruel to the extreme as the unfortunate animals often spend days suffering before eventually dying in agony. Rats and mice may not be the only victims as other small mammals get caught in traps or poisoned, including wildlife, companion animals and even humans may also come to harm after contact with toxins as was indicated in the petition above. Furthermore these methods of eradication are in the long term futile.
 

“Effective rodent-control programs are integrative and adaptive and focus on repellents, deterrents, and exclusion. Rodents are attracted to areas with adequate food sources and shelter, both indoors and outdoors. Eliminate access to food by keeping counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets free of crumbs and storing dry food and pet food in chew-proof containers. Seal trash (use bungee cords on lids), pick up your animal companions’ food at night and never feed them outdoors, pick up fallen fruit and vegetables in orchards and gardens if possible, and never feed wildlife. Reduce hiding places by keeping grass and vegetation trimmed back and by storing outdoor furniture, grills and barbecues, and wood piles away from buildings.

Next, determine where the animals are entering and frequenting by using a flashlight to locate entry points such as holes and cracks, gaps around pipes and doors, etc. (Rats can slip into buildings through quarter-size holes, and mice can squeeze into dime-size holes.) Faeces and signs of chewing or food-storing can also help determine the places that rodents frequent. Repel rodents by using ammonia-soaked rags or cotton balls (animals won’t like the smell and will leave), an indoor/outdoor radio (set to rock music or talk radio), or a strobe light. Once animals have left, seal entry points using foam sealant, steel wool, hardware cloth, or metal flashing.”

Please continue reading the following for more information about how to humanely keep rats and mice out of your home, garden, yard or elsewhere.

Living in Harmony with House Mice and Rats:

I am not sure what the advice included in the above link says about rock music, I guess rats can't stand it as much as I ;-) Also unless you live in an isolated area I doubt the neighbours would appreciate music all day.

Hold on just noticed in the above article - (Rodents can also be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian or at a local animal shelter.) Apparently PETA condone killing a healthy animal! PETA it seems are not one hundred percent in their defence of the right of all animals to life. Shocked? I am indeed. It goes without saying, but I must be clear I do not condone euthanasia - killing - of any healthy living being unless it is in self-defence or the animal is seriously ill.

The rest of the information is nevertheless sound and useful. The information is from PETA's USA website, the ideas though are much the same anywhere.

We live in a rural area and have trouble with rats in our garden and have removed many by means of a live trap and taken them to a place of safely and released them - Before using live traps please click the link above and carefully read the information, for instance: Only release rats and mice within 100 yards of where they were trapped. Releasing a mouse or rat into a strange area will almost surely result in the animal’s death because relocated animals don’t know where to find adequate food, water, or shelter and often become weak and succumb to predation or foreign parasites or disease against which they lack a natural immunity.Check traps hourly

Cruel methods are never necessary. Read some of the comments included in the above link for more advice and accounts of how people have coped humanely with rats and mice - such as this delightful Story from Marina:

"For the past year, we had mice in our house—lots of mice. We probably took out about a hundred of them, all told, using humane live traps of various types, baited with peanut butter, sunflower seeds, or almonds. If one type of trap doesn’t work, try another, and put them in the places where you see mouse poo. They like to run along edges. If you have dry cat food down in the room where you know the mice are, move it into a room where you haven’t seen evidence of mice. Who knows how many times we took the same ones out before we finally thought to look in the most obvious place for a hole in the foundation under the porch? In the middle of winter, when it was too cold to release them outdoors, we kept the ones we caught in a cage with a wheel, and fed them grain, almonds, fruit, etc. The mice ran in the wheel, groomed, and slept curled up in a little ball during most of the daylight hours. There’s no doubt it was more “work” and “trouble” than killing them would have been, but I’m a cancer survivor as well as someone who cares about all animals, and neither of us would ever consider using toxic chemicals to make war on these little creatures, who were, after all, only trying to live their lives. We’ve now been completely mouse free for several months.”

Conclusion

Who has the right to say that rats and mice or indeed any creature does not have the right to live? Who has the right to say the life of one sentient being is of more value than that of another. Many would say that might equals
right – well if you think that way what can I say other than it is that kind of thinking that has made this world a place of suffering for myriads of species including our own.

We all inhabit the same world sadly many humans consider themselves superior to the other animals with whom we share this world, maybe as a result of anachronistic thinking of a bygone age which now has no place in any ethically progressive society. This world is the home to teeming millions of living creatures, rodents are among them and deserve our respect and their right to life as you or I or any living creature.

Coming soon

In defence of rats and mice: Sentience and Intelligence

 

 

 

 

 

 

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