Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I just killed a rat. Not with poison or a trap. I bludgeoned it with a stone from my back yard. And it took several times before it died. I felt a sort of sick to my stomach, near-crying sensation.

I feel that I kinda need to confess this because I don't know exactly why I did it and that's what scares me. Are rats necessarily bad in the backyard? Was I just protecting my property? But from what? Did I fear them messing with the garden beds or crawling into my house somehow? I dunno.

Can someone give me a reason for why I should have let it live? I just couldn't think of one. And from all I can tell, we're enemies, right?

This feels like a strange thing to blog about, but it just happened and I'm processing in real time.

What do you think? Should I've let it run away? Would you've? Or would you have killed it, too? And why?


not your mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
not your mom said...

Well??? I all my years at Hume, I killed over 400 mice(probably only a few by hand, or foot)...I always considered them the my and my families health. If that helps???

Tuffy said...

i'm actually the opposite. i always let everything live. if i killed one i'd be feeling just like you. i can't make myself harm things (i don't even usually mess with bugs).

but i also can't come up with much of a theological reason not to in situations like yours. maybe i'm just weenie.

Doody Mac said...

In the past I would've had the same reaction and killed it too (or had someone else do it,) but being newly veganized it's gotten me re-thinking things like this; ya know - having compassion for all animals.

So yeah, I would've trapped it and released it in a field or just left it alone. He ain't doing nothing wrong, just being a rat.

Hey, you asked! ;D

CubeConvict said...

[rant]Take one more step back to a life where you did actually produce your own food (meat or veg, all the same) and you would understand that with disease carrying animals that seek to eat your food (or other resources), there's no question. I'm there with you on innocent animals, but a plague carrying thief is no innocent!

I was in my garden yesterday harvesting the last of the season's tomatoes and many of the ripe ones were half eaten by the rats that come in from the empty lot next door. You might say that if I bought my tomatoes from the store, I wouldn't be killing the rats. But in that case, some farmer is killing them instead.

Healthy life and food production requires the elimination of the enemies of that health whether you are industrialized or not.

If you had bludgeoned the hummingbirds or sadistically mashed bees for fun, that would be different.

jeramy sossaman said...

the rat is not your enemy...but don't feel bad.

Anonymous said...

Kill 'em all… unless they want to work as chefs in your kitchen.

Unknown said...

Just imagine it was a cat.

joel said...

two things:

we used to have two rats as pets -- Mrs. J and (shit) i can't remember the other rat's anyway, one day we came home and as Katie was getting ready to feed them she realized that Mrs. J's head was missing and the 'other' rat was looking decidedly satiated. Obviously, we had some decisions to make: keep this rat who just ate the head of the sweeter of the two rats; kill it, because in this state the death penalty still exists; give it away for adoption; or let this domestic go in the wild to pay for his sins? well, due to self imposed time constraints we i let the rat go in the wild park near our complex. it was a really weird and sad day for everyone in the house...especially due to the fact that we didn't want to tell eliot what had happened for fear or scaring him...and yet, who were the ones truly scared.

Which brings me to my next story: my dad loves to fly fish with his sons when we visit him in Idaho. Now, in this story i hadn't fished in like ten years and was simply enjoying the amazing weather and time with my father. After several hours i had finally caught a fish that was too small and so i was instructed to put it back. As i unhooked this little guy and placed it back in the water, 'he' just floated there, moving his mouth as if he was gasping for air. i stood there stunned and realized that in my effort to free this fish from my hook i had crushed its lungs (or something), basically causing its slow death. Mortified and obviously realizing that my days as a fisherman had come to a close, i had to take it out of the water, walk gingerly through the stream to bash this fish's head against a rock. i am 35 and that was four years ago and yet it feels like yesterday.

some chick said...

i throw rocks at the cat who poops in my garden and i don't feel bad about it at all. that said, i eat meat.

Michael said...

you are a good soul ... and i'm with you in that i am much more comfortable with pest control techniques which don't require me to look rats in the eye. but that is because my brain has been wrecked by animated entertainment and as a a result it ascribes more humanity to rats, and has more emotion about rats than reality demands.

and i do have a poem to offer from the archives. rats.

Anonymous said...

I think it was the wrong thing to, and I think you know that or else the guilt wouldn't be there. But it's okay, we all do that kind of stuff all the time, just try to use the trauma as a catalyst for change, and recognize you still, and always will, have a long ways to go to peace.
Much love, Kevin Burgess