This is a letter written by our friend and the owner of our rats, Grace Jr. , touching on a subject that was a sore spot for many of us. Please, take time to read it, and take action as you see it fit.
"Today, while browsing the Rat Fan Club forum, I came across a post linking to a specific article from the Washington Times entitled: Rat Fan Club has pet peeve, by Scott Galupo (January 25, 2003, Arts section). This "article" was written in response to a petition started by The Rat Fan Club, against the reality based TV show Fear Factor.
Let me start off by reiterating why the Rat Fan Club is protesting this show, in case any of you have not already heard about it. In a number of episodes of Fear Factor, animals have been used in stunts. There was one episode where live rats were tossed into different bins, sorted by color I believe. Another had snakes being tossed around, many of which wound up being seriously injured. Yet another involved contestants bobbing for rings in a 50 gallon tub of cow blood, as well as eating horse rectums. Add to that the latest stunt, where contestants picked up dead rats with their teeth and tossed them into trash bins. The point here is not that they are using rats, or even that they are using dead rats, but that they consider animal cruelty to be an acceptable form of family entertainment.
In response to this petition, Washington Times "journalist" Scott Galupo wrote an article on January 25th. It started out by saying the following: "...rats the icky, cringe-inducing rodents that creep out most civilized human beings." I know not all of you own rats currently, or have owned them in the past, but I personally find it quite insulting to be considered uncivilized based solely upon my choice of animal companion. There are literally hundreds of thousands of pet rat owners across the world, and for them, as well as myself, rats are far from the "icky, cringe inducing rodents" that they are portrayed to be in this article. Many celebrities have, and currently have, pet rats. Even Beatrix Potter had rat companions. Does that make her uncivilized? I think not...
The article goes on to say, "... [The Rat Fan Club] says "Fear Factor" treats rats cruelly and unusually. They think that's a bad thing, if you're wondering." Since when is animal cruelty a good thing? It has been PROVEN that animal abusers often become molesters, rapists, murderers, etc. Just because they are using animals commonly considered "vermin" to many uneducated viewers, doesn't mean it is all right. And, in case you are wondering, yes, I was outraged to hear what happened on "the snake episode" as well. An animal, no matter what species, deserves to be respected, and deserves to know love at least for a short period of time in it's life. Why should it be considered OK to waste their life for the sake of entertainment?
Rats are often compared to dogs in regards to their companionship. Even Jack Hanna has stated that rats are like dogs, just in a smaller size. They are social animals, form very close bonds with one another and their human companions, and make great pets for apartment dwellers. Best of all, you don't have to worry about taking them for walks, or them barking.
Yes, they are often bred as a source of food for other reptiles and birds of prey, but even then, their life has purpose. What purpose does a rat serve by being killed for the sake of entertainment? There is no more meaning to that animal's life, which makes it all the more upsetting to me.
Please, I ask of you to do a few things. First, take a moment to sign the petition I have linked below. It is a petition to cancel Fear Factor, and only takes a moment to sign. We need all the help we can get on this, to show them animal cruelty as entertainment is NOT tolerated by the American public. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/659844751?ts=1044076746&sign[partnerID]=1&sign[memberID]=369906887&sign[partner_userID]=369906887
Secondly, I ask of you to read the article I have talked about. The link is here: http://www.washtimes.com/arts/20030125-93098456.htm If you have any spare time, PLEASE write to The Washington Times, letting them know how you feel about them allowing such misinformative articles to appear in their newspaper. Personally, I have yet to see an article in another newspaper with such misinformation and lack of research involved. Here is a link to their list of staff: http://www.washtimes.com/staffdir.htm , or you can send letters to the editor in regards to the article here: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
And, thirdly, and I know this is something not all of you will have the time to do, but please email sponsors of the show, asking them to rethink their choice about sponsoring a show that condones animal cruelty and such blatant disregard for another living creatures life. Here is a list of sponsors for the show Fear Factor: http://ratfanclub.org/boycott.html (Near the bottom of the page). Please also contact organizations such as the ASPCA, The American Humane Association, The Ark Trust, and other similar organizations.
And lastly, I ask another small favor. PLEASE, send this letter on to those you know, in hopes that the word can be spread. I only hope that more people out there can realize this show is NOT about people facing their fears anymore. What type of person is afraid of eating a horse rectum? This show has realized that it was loosing favor among the public, and has stooped to shows about nothing more than shock value. Please, do your part and try to help us get this show canceled, and to inform the Washington Times about their upsetting article."