Opinion / From the Press

Releasing rats in village an offense

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-20 08:20

People should take care of and love small animals. But that doesn't mean they can release rats and other pests in villages and claim that they are doing a service to animals, says an article in Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

Recently, five people drove a minibus to a village in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and set free thousands of rats there, scaring villagers. Some villagers caught the five people who had released the pests and handed them to the local police saying that by releasing so many rats they had compromised villagers' health. The five "captors" defended themselves saying that releasing the rats in the "wild" serves a good purpose.

The sight of so many rats in one place is like a scene from a horror movie. It is indeed terrible to see a colony of rats, the source of plague that once killed many people across the world, being released in a village. It is like a biological warfare against villagers, for it could trigger a health crisis. These rats, if not culled in time, can also damage standing crops and even the ecosystem.

Despite claiming to work for a good purpose, the people who released the rats in the village have jeopardized the health of villagers. Their action has also raised many questions. For example, where did they get so many rats from? Were they involved in an unlicensed food racket? Were the rats bought from a market?

If indeed the five people are not lying and had really caught the rats, they are completely ignorant of health threats because rats are serious pests that can spread disease.

Those who see the actions of people like the five who released the rats as a service to small animals are actually blind to basic health facts. Media reports often talk about venomous animals such as snakes being set free by some "animal lovers" disregarding people's safety. We should not mistreat or kill small animals, but that does not mean we should release those that pose a threat to people's health and even safety.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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