Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Insanity of Protecting Rats

By Alan Caruba

Going back to the 1980s I have worked professionally with elements of the pest control industry providing public relations services  The process of educating the public is necessary because new generations must be informed of the threats pests pose to health and property.

Back when it was still known as the National Pest Control Association, I even received a beautiful certificate of appreciation that hangs in my office. At some point several years ago, it and state organizations changed their name to “Pest Management” presumably to divest themselves of the image of actually killing the creatures that annually spread disease and do millions in property damage.

In past years environmental organizations devoted a lot of time and money to convince the public that the real problem was the pest controllers, not the pests. If they all changed their profession next Monday, the entire nation would be totally over-run with roaches, termites, rats and mice in a month. The work is not glamorous, but it is utterly essential to society.

A case in point is bed bugs that have emerged in a few short years into a full-fledged pest problem from coast to coast. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, the lack of pesticides registered to exterminate them has facilitated this new plague. There is, I believe, only one.

I have watched as the EPA has, since its founding, insanely strip pest control professionals and consumers of access to pesticides that formerly had protected their parents and grandparents, as well as their homes and businesses.

When you take away the pesticides, all you have left are the pests.

The modern pest control industry had its beginnings in the Middle Ages with the emergence of “rat catchers”, men who had developed a variety of poisons to rid homes and other properties of the ubiquitous rodent. Even the kings and queens of England had a royal rat catcher.

They were such a part of life in those times that the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin has been passed down to us. It was, of course, the combination of rats and fleas that spread the Black Plague in the Middle Ages, killing a third or more of the population of Europe.

So why, one must ask, have the burgers of Washington, D.C., responsible for passing the laws, passed the truly insane one titled the “Wildlife Protection Act” that requires pest control operators to not only capture rats in a fashion that does not harm them in any way, but to transport them twenty-five miles away to be set free?

As Dr. Don Boys noted in a recent Canada Free Press article, “Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Attorney General, said D.C.’s new rat law is ‘crazier than fiction’ because it requires vermin not be killed but rather captured, preferably in "families", and transferred to a ‘wildlife rehabilitator’”, presumably living in Virginia!

Here are a few facts about rats:

# Rats have a life span of approximately nine months.

# Rats are ready to breed within three months. Their gestation period is 22 days and they have an average litter of eight. An average female rat will provide 20 offspring.

# A single pair of rats has the potential, mathematically, of producing 359 million descendents in three year’s time.

# The average overall length of a rat is l6 inches, with a body measuring 9 inches and a tail of 7 inches. The average weight of a rat is l ¼ pounds. Their color can range from reddish brown to black.

# A rat’s sense of smell is excellent, as is its sense of taste. They are particularly suspicious of food. This results often in “bait shyness.” Rats will leave a poisoned bait untouched for almost a week. Other members of the pack will avoid food not eaten by other members and often warn other rats away by sprinkling it with their urine or feces.

# Rats can gain access to virtually any structure. They can climb 15 feet up a rough, surfaced vertical wall. They can jump vertically one foot from a flat surface and they can easily traverse telephone wires and ropes. They are, in addition, good swimmers.

Virginia and other states contiguous to Washington, D.C. do not want the District’s rats. They have plenty of their own. They also have a complete host of other rodents and wildlife that require the ministrations of pest control professionals.

There are a host of very good reasons why every American city and town has extensive laws regarding the control of insect and rodent pests, as well as wildlife that, in my home state of New Jersey, includes raccoons, opossum, squirrels, turkeys, coyotes, deer, and bears!

Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that rats must be killed to protect people and property, but not the idiots on the Washington, D.C. city council who were more intent on protecting the rats than their constituents.

A lot of Americans have concluded they need protection from Washington, D.C. and its incessant and insane production of laws and regulations that pose the greatest threat of all to our personal freedoms and to the nation’s economy, security, and future.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


denimflyz said...

In the mid 60's, when I was about 7-8 yrs old, my dad would take me out in our old 49 Willys jeep, west of our town on the weekends after dark and was taught the art of weapon handling and shooting moving targets...huge rats that weighed anywhere from around 15 to 25 pounds, I kid you not. My dad would place me up on top of the jeep, and with spotlights, instruct me on shooting and safety a group of police and sheriff dept including my dad, would go out almost daily to get rid of hundreds of rats. I could not tell you how many rats we shot. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were over run with rats here in our town, in every size and shape. Brought in since the railroads and pioneer days of old. We had no dept that handled eradication of pests and vermin so it was up to the cops and sheriff's dept at the time to do it.
I remember my dad talking about when he was on night shift on the PD, when he was walking the downtown beat and shaking doors, seeing 3-4 wild alley cats taking on one single rat that out weighed them all.
If D.C. wants to capture the rats and release them, how about just releasing them on to the White House lawn, (I'm sure that Michelle O would love this) and around Congress, I'm sure that may change someone's mind in a hurry about catch and release. :+)

Harry Dale Huffman said...

By protecting rats, the DC city council puts itself in the same category as rats (dangerous pests), and the people of DC need to remove the current members of that council from their position, forthwith.

sykes.1 said...

The insanity is built into the Constitution and its establishment of a strong central government. Like a black hole, the central government accretes power incessantly. The two parties are totally complicit in this accretion.

The only way to get rid of it is to repeal the Constitution and return to the Articles of Confederation. That would eliminate the Congress, the federal Courts and nearly all of the Executive. The Anti-Federalists have been proven right.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

Alan, It seems as EVERYONE has a rat story to tell. Funny how the pest is ubiquitous to every society.
Here in these United States we have embraced the rat above our unborn and those who make such foolish regulations are considered to be so compassionate! About RATS! AAARGHHH!
BTW, here in Santa Cruz, some rats are caught with peanut butter and beef jerky, others by the electoral process or term limits.

Ronbo said...

The real pest control problem in this country are the demoRATS.

Alan Caruba said...

@Sykes: You obviously hadn't taken your medication when you posted your comment.

I haven't read such rubbish in a very long time.

LarryOldtimer said...

This fits quite well with the absurdity that is the EPA. As far as I am concerned, either we kill off the pests, or the pests will kill us off.

I grew up on a farm in Iowa (I am 76 years old), before synthetic pest killers existed, and that part was dreadful indeed. What was worst than taking a bite of an apple and finding a worm in it? Taking a bite of an apple and seeing half of a worm.

Rats were common, and I shot a great many of them with a .22 rifle, which I learned how to use to great effect when I was 6 years old.