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Lions Roar : May 2017
Why do you like rats? Rats have compassion. There are studies that show if there are two rats in an area and one rat is restrained and can’t get to the food, the other will try to free it. Rats are also very smart and enjoy companionship. Why is it important to control the rat population? Fifty percent of the world depends on rice to survive—that’s their staple food source—and rats can consume anywhere from 17 to 30 percent of a farmer’s crop. In Indonesia I met a subsistence rice farmer who told me, “I plant a fourth of my land to sell for money, a fourth to feed my family, and a fourth to save money for my children. Then I plant a fourth for the rats.” He has accepted that rats will eat that much of his food, but if we could help him keep more of what he grows, that would be a gift. Rats also con- sume a significant percentage of wheat in countries like India. Then there’s the challenge of disease. Rats have wiped out Europe twice by carrying the plague. The pathogen is in the fleas they carry. The plague is still in Madagascar on the rats there, and I think it’s just a matter of time before we have some serious health challenges from them. Poison is the method used around the world to try to reduce the rat population. Why is it better to control their reproduction without killing? Poison doesn’t work. In the Pacific, there are areas where rats are decimating the tropical birds and guava plants. On one island they spent seven years and over $7 million to wipe out the rats. Then all it took was a ship to be nearby and they inhabited the island again. Rats can swim up to ten miles. The other thing is, if the rats are in an area where there’s an infestation, they’re usually killed inhumanely. With most rat poisons, it takes four to five days for them to bleed out. It’s a horrible death, and if they’re consumed by a natural predator, like a bird, cat, or dog, then that animal also dies in the same way. Poisons don’t degrade in the animal. Q&A Oh, Rats! Biologist LORETTA MAYER has developed a revolutionary technology for pest control that’s good for people, the environment, and rats themselves. TAYLORMAHONEY In our age-old war on rats, we’ve tried to poison and trap them, drive them away with ultrasonic machines, and even sic coyotes on them. Loretta Mayer proposes a no-kill solution. Visit jewelheart.org ~~~ GUY EWLA D LIVI G WITH LOSS: Grief, Consolation, Communion May19-21 Online & Onsite Courses & Events GOM: A Course in Meditation Thursdays, 7 - 8:30pm April 13 - June 1 ~~~ ~~~ LOVE YOUR LIFE Thursdays, 7 - 8:30pm June 15 - July 20 July 29 - August 5 Ann Arbor, Michigan All Welcome Jewel Heart Summer Retreat Sundays with Gelek Rimpoche 11am EDT - Online - Free For More Details & Jewel Heart’s Online Digital Dharma LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 19 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE