by Elizah Leigh
Categories: Animals
Tags: , , .

realityIt’s hard to know which part of this story is the most difficult to stomach — the fact that a rat was recently consumed for the sake of reality television ratings or the actual manner in which the ill-fated creature met its untimely demise.  After facing an extended period of time without access to meat, two contestants on the reality TV show, “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” resorted to killing and cooking a rat, but they are now facing the consequences of their actions thanks to the Australian RSPCA’s ruling that they were guilty of committing animal cruelty.

It’s unsettling enough that British actor Stuart Manning and Italian chef Gino D’Acampo ate rat flesh, but the way in which they actually killed their meal is what ended up costing British broadcaster ITV $2,600 US Dollars and additional sizable fines. After being stabbed with a knife, the rat experienced unnecessary pain and distress with a prolonged death, and at least in the Australian state of New South Wales, all creatures great and small are protected under the Cruelty to Animals Act.

David O’Shannessy, the RSPCA’s Chief Inspector, explained: ‘The animal was killed for a TV show and that’s not appropriate. The raw footage indicates that, from the first attempt, it took about 90 seconds before it actually died.’ Claiming that it was an unfortunate oversight, ITV expressed sincere apologies for the incident and stressed that they were unaware of the fact that they were committing a criminal offense. O’Shannessy asserted that if Manning and D’Acampo simply ended the rat’s life in a swift manner, there would be no news coverage whatsoever.

Long considered to be a protein-rich dietary staple in poverty-stricken areas such as Southeast Asia and African regions like Ghana, munching on rattus norvegicus (and various other types of the relatively diminutive whiskered rodents) has enabled those who are far less fortunate to augment their diets and spare themselves from starvation. In the Western world, however, we generally exercise a strict mouths-off policy where rat is concerned, preferring to indulge in far more acceptable forms of animal protein since the general (uninformed) consensus is that rats are the scourge of the earth. The advent of reality television and the quest for squirms and high ratings has apparently changed that.

Aside from being a food source, the whiskered critters happen to be remarkably intelligent and are presently being dispatched to sniff out landmines in Mozambique, Columbia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Medical researchers also continue to pimp them out for never-ending drug studies as well as their keen sense of smell, which can detect the presence of tuberculosis as well as cancer.

It’s good to see the Australian RSPCA looking out for this highly underappreciated rodent and hopefully their ruling will reinforce the fact that no matter the species, all animals deserve basic respect, regard and empathy.

via ABC News

  • http://google Catherine

    My nieces had pet rats. At first I was not thrilled but, because of circumstances these creatures came under my care; still not completely thrilled by this. But, this was the start of my attitude change from tolerating them to one of amazement of these tiny creatures. They were by far, the most interesting & beloved creatures I’ve ever had in my care. The four rats used one space in the cage for their waste, another for eating and still another for sleeping. They would come when called and every second day one would literally go on maid duty; she cleaned up. She busily tossed all the soiled bedding out of the cage and then onto the floor: far away from their living quarters. They each lived from 3 to 5 years. I am so glad that I had the priveledge to share a time with them.
    These are amazing creatures; to use them for experiments or in any other inhumane way is just not right. They have lives of there own.

    On another note; if you happen to find you have unwanted rodents in your home, as many of us in older homes do, use sound. I found something at a hardware store that I simply plug in; we cannot hear it but the sound is untollerable to rodents. I have a cat and a dog; they are not affected by it. The plug in was under $20. It is a permanent way to rid one of ‘pests’ Remember, glue strips and traps do nothing but kill those caught. Glue strips are so inhumane I’m shocked we can purchase them. The little creatures will chew off there limbs attempting to escape. And glue and traps kill only those caught; not the hundreds of others waiting to come in for warmth and a meal. Mice and rats are not pychic, they have no idea that others of their kind have been killed in your house. They will just keep coming. The sound device is the only permanent deterent there is. Oh yes, peppermint oil works too.

  • Jen Hamilton

    I also had the pleasure of caring for a rat in my teen years. I rescued him from someone that was not treating him respect and giving him the care he deserved. I admit that I was somewhat afraid of Malachi at first and my mom was not in the least bit happy to have a rat in her home. Over time we grew to love this animal and he used to ride around everywhere on my mom’s shoulder. My little brother adopted him when I left for college. He got really sick with pneumonia and my mom took him to the vet to try to save him. We were all very sad by his passing. He was a very gentle and curious creature.

  • Jim

    The aritcle illustrates the fact that the most brutal and viscious animal species on earth is homo sapiens. This species has wrought more willful death, torture and general misery upon its fellow creatures than any other known species. Of course, compassion can also be found within the species but, sadly, only in the minority.

    • mr.mcjewbag

      Given the chance, a rat would eat you in a heartbeat to save its own life. Remember that.