With their big eyes and adorable whiskers, rats beseech whoever is looking at them to love them. Most do not heed their call. They focus on the tail, the myths they've heard about them, and recoil. Still, can even the coldest person drop them in a cage with a carnivore and watch them struggle for their life as they twist, squirm and shriek under that reptile's hold? Can they carry those rats home in a box knowing that they will send them to a painful death? Can even the coldest person contend with the idea that some of these poor little creatures spend their entire lives with barely enough room to even stand, covered in their own feces and urine? I don't get it. Ever since finding out about the existence of such creatures, I have been incredibly disturbed. I already knew of lab rats, but this feels different somehow.
Most of my objections are at a purely emotional level. I recognize that any arguments I say is purely hypocritical because I eat meat. I do the same thing those snakes do, minus the hunt. For this reason, this post is merely an exploration of the topic, rather than something meant to be persuasive.
I suppose my discomfort comes from the fact that I know rats in a way I don't know farm animals. Rats are intelligent, kind and sweet. The idea of them being devoured is equally as horrifying as eating a dog or a cat. Surely less intelligent animals can serve the purpose of snake food? It seems too cruel that a rat must serve the purpose, or at least domestic rats. Why can't another breed serve the purpose?
At the very least, if one must end up breeding feeders, they deserve to be treated humanely. This means in sufficiently large cages that are regularly cleaned, and they deserve to be fed properly. I might even venture to say they deserve stimulation. It might be easy to discount them as street rats if you don't know them, but it's not right. Rats can feel emotions just as a human can. Yet feeders don't have to have the same health standards as pet rats.
Another part of it is that snakes kind of creep me out in general. Before I was live and let live, but now that I know they eat rats live (not just frozen, but live), I feel differently. Why would anyone want a pet snake? They can't cuddle or snuggle or give affection. And it would creep me out to have it in the house. How can that be safe?
I'd love to save some of the feeders, though. I definitely will when I'm older. Those rats deserve better