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Ethical Dilemmas in Daily Life - Rats in My Backyard, Part 1

Ugur Akinci

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Rats are killing me – not literally, thanks goodness, but ethically and philosophically.

I have holes in my backyard, dug right under the tool shed next to my house.

For the longest time I thought they were mole holes. Or perhaps snake holes? Since I'm a city boy and grew up far away from the facts of wilderness, I never gave it another thought until one day a friend told me that they were rat holes!

“Rat holes?” I asked in utter astonishment, “do they live underground?”

“Where else you think they do?” was the come back that started my whole agony about this issue.

I hate rats. No question about it. I hate seeing them scurry around, anywhere. I'm also aware that they can carry ticks and a host of illnesses.

So I started to set up traps and poison them, in full knowledge that I was trying to killing another warm-blooded being.

Some mornings I would find the poison pellets spit back uneaten in front the shack. And I always found my traps empty. The cheese and the peanut butter would be gone but the trap itself would be minus its intended furry victim.

Were these such Super Rats that they ate poison like chocolate cake, as if to laugh at me and make fun of my ignorance about the whole issue?

Were they so strong that, after getting caught in the trap, they just lifted the spring bar with one paw, and went on their way, perhaps disgusted with my naivete?

Or was I just hurting a squirrel or the neighbor's cat instead?

And the fact that I actually never some any rats around made me even more suspicious of the real nature of this enigma.

Then one day, I saw it. . .

(Continues in Part 2)


Ugur Akinci, Ph. D. is a senior writer and web content consultant with 20 years of experience.

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