The Arizona Legislature's not in session, but the State Capitol is still swarming with rats. Not the usual elected rats, but actual rodents that are apparently "invading" the building.
According to the Arizona Republic, "The House of Representatives, the Senate and the executive tower where the governor works have been magnets for the little (and not-so-little) rodents, who have been reported scurrying across floors and nibbling on food left on office desks."
The Republic goes on to say "the state Department of Administration said glue traps had ensnared 64 of the vermin recently."
If history tells us anything, the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals can't be too happy with the use of glue traps, so we gave the group a call and alerted it to the rodent Holocaust taking place down at the Capitol.
We spoke to Kristin Simon, one of PETA's senior cruelty caseworkers, who says "glue traps are absolutely the most inhumane way to remove an animal."
Although, she says, she's sure the intent of whoever laid the glue traps wasn't cruel.
Simon says when a rodent gets stuck in a glue trap, it will often rip its flesh, or even chew off limbs to escape. Dying can take days, she says.
As expected, PETA doesn't advocate killing of any living pest. In fact, Simon says killing an animal, as opposed to just moving it, could lead to an even larger infestation.
"When animals are killed, there's a spike in the food supply [because less animals are competing for food]," she says. "Physiologically, [the spike in food supply] causes them to reproduce in greater numbers."
Simon says the rats probably are the result of messy humans who leave food and other goodies for rats laying around the office.
She says there are non-lethal ways to control a rat problem -- for example, keeping food in places where rats can't get it, and leaving ammonia-soaked rags in places where rats have been seen.
Simon sent an e-mail to Bill Hernandez, assistant director of the Arizona General Services Division, in which she urges him to stop using glue traps.
See Simon's letter below.
June 30, 2011
To: Bill Hernandez, Assistant Director, Arizona General Services Division
Don Fitzpatrick, Facilities Operations and Maintenance
From: Kristin Simon, Senior Cruelty Caseworker, PETA
Your urgent attention is requested.
PETA is an international animal protection organization with more than 2 million members and supporters globally. We hope this letter finds you well. Our headquarters has received reports that the Arizona General Services Division is using glue traps to kill rodents in the Capitol complex. We respectfully ask that your office reconsider this cruel and unsanitary method.
Lethal measures will backfire: a spike in the food supply results, prompting accelerated breeding among survivors and newcomers. You will see increased populations. Please know that we are happy to advise regarding effective rodent control methods. But if lethal methods are insisted upon, glue traps should be avoided at all cost. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cautions against their use due to disease risks. Glue traps are also extremely cruel. Panicked, ensnared animals struggle mightily, tearing flesh, breaking bones, becoming more entangled in the adhesive, only to die exhausted, frightened, injured, from shock, dehydration, asphyxiation, or blood loss. Research shows that death can take more than 24 hours. And the screaming of ensnared rodents is extremely upsetting to staff. Poisons/fumigants are also exceedingly cruel/toxic, and shouldn't be used.
The safest lethal options available are the D-Con Ultra Set Covered Mouse/Rat Trap and the Victor Electronic Trap. These are readily available, cost-effective (reusable), clean (touch-free), discreet, safe to use around food and people, and they ensure a quick death.
We hope that the Arizona General Services Division will join the countless entities that have sworn off glue traps.
Thank you for your consideration. May we hear from you soon?
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Kristin Simon, Senior Cruelty Caseworker
Cruelty Investigations Department