The Ethics Of Rat Killing

We’ve found ourselves with a rather nasty problem – there’s rat(s) under our shed. Given its a decrepit pile of wood thats not really surprising – I’m tempted to ask the landlord if we could knock it down – but then it would leave my little veggie patch and greenhouse open to the wind that blasts down the side of the house, and we couldn’t afford to replace it (and no, our landlord wouldn’t!).

We first realised we had rats a couple of months ago – thankfully there’s no sign of them in the house, they just seem to be hanging out under the shed and chewing the couple of plastic bags that were in there! Chris has seen them dart across the lawn out of the corner of his eye once or twice. I picked up some poison the other day and have been mulling it over ever since … unfortunatly this morning as I was watching the birds in the garden through the window I also saw one of the little blighters, bold as brass, running back and forwards from under the front of the shed. After a couple of minutes quietly watching I banged on the window and yelled to see if he would be scared off – wasn’t bothered in the slightest, just looked up at me and then went back to his business. It looks like they’re getting water from next door’s water butt, which is uncovered and has things piled up next to it. I’m tempted to pop a note through the door asking them to cover it up but as Chris said they’d find water elsewhere.

After some internal fighting I went and put some poison out, inside some washed out tin cans (the instructions recommend inside some guttering, which we don’t have unfortunatly), and tucked underneath the shed.

I’m really struggling with this one. On the one hand they’re vermin, spread diseases (though apparently not much more than any other animal’s faeces does), will decimate any veggies I grow, and will breed like wildfire. On the other hand, being vegetarian, I really struggle with the idea of poisoning any animal. I admit we took the coward’s way out – neither me or Chris would be able to deal with traps, and the problem of dispatching one if it doesn’t get killed by the trap. The things that kick out a nasty noise to repel them look good – but need to be plugged into the mains (no good in the garden). We rang the local council and they don’t trap them – they just put down poison too, and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege.

In some ways I really regret seeing that one this morning, not because it scared me but the opposite – it’s the first time I’ve seen a wild rat in the flesh and it’s gone from being this demonic, terrifying creature to a small fuzzy one, with a twitching nose, that looked highly intelligent.

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2 Comments to “The Ethics Of Rat Killing”

  1. Be brave and put the poison down. If there’s one there’ll be others. Rats will also gnaw through inorganic materials like polystyrene, polythene pipe, house wiring and plastic containers. Our cat was useless and cowered behind our ‘skirts’ rather than face a rodent bigger than a baby mouse. However, the presence or smell of a cat seems to act as a deterrent. Small terrier dogs are good hunters. Good luck.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Jenny :)

    I have put the poison down :( Unfortunatly we can’t have a cat (other half’s previous cat was mauled to death by the dogs over the road), and I have to admit I’m not a fan of canines ;)

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