Thursday, April 23, 2009


After reading Child ish Behavior's post about a Mouse I remembered a letter to the editor I saw in the April 16th Bay News.

I've gotta say, animal right's activists are generally nut-jobs. I'm not an animal person, but I totally believe in treating animals with respect and so forth, but sometimes, the PETA freaks go too far! In the previous week's Bay News, an opinion columnist Stanley Gershbein, wrote about PETA's dislike of glue-traps for rodents. PETA claimed those traps were inhumane ways to treat animals. Gershbein criticized PETA, for being well PETA, thinking that disease-carrying rodents deserved to be treated "fairly." So anyway, a reader responded in the "letters to the editor" section Here goes:

To The Editor:

Stanley Gershbein ["It's Only My Opinion"], in a recent column, you criticize PETA's demonstration against the use of glue the use of glue traps for mice.

First of all, no one said mice are more important than children.

You also mention that mice spread germs. People also spread germs! I have often seen people cough up phlegm and spit it out on the street!

In addition, any surface handled by the public, such as hand rails on buses and trains, public telephones, pens in banks and shopping cart handles, are all covered with germs.

If my memory serves me correctly, you made mention of this in a previous column. In addition I, recently, read in an article that a high percentage of people don't bother to wash their hands even after using the bathroom!

Ofcourse, no one wants to live with mice. But, dear reader, there is a humane method of evicting them from your home. You can use a humane trap, which once baited traps the mice alive- harmlessly [contact PETA...]. Then, you can release them in an empty lot, or wooded area away from houses.

The glue trap is an extremely cruel device. The mouse is stuck in it, unable to escape and will, either, slowly starve to death or, if callously tossed alive into the garbage, suffocate. Or maybe, even be crushed to death.

Mice are just small animals, and can feel pain and fear the same as a cat, or a dog, or a person. You can remove mice from your home, humanely. There is no excuse for torturing them.

Seriously, this woman is a nut job. A complete nut-job.

" one said mice are more important than children."

Well, fine. But from the tone of your letter, I think it's safe to assume this lady thinks we're "equal" to our rodent counterpart.

"People also spread germs"

No kidding!! I'm so greatful the lady mentioned this. However, I don't think the lady understands what she's talking.

While she is right that when humans come home, they're full of germs from the outside (no one is denying the existence of yucky people). However, if a person washes his/her hands -with soap- when they come home, they're not germy, and can easily eat or do whatever they so choose. Meaning, human spread germs, are semi-controllable.

However, mice are just simply yucky. While those who "cough up phlegm and spit it out on the street" are nasty, they do it IN THE STREET! A mouse, poops on the countertops, in people's livingrooms, in area's children may be playing in. Mice can just pop-up anywhere. No matter how clean a person may be, if they have dirty neighbors, the mice are in the vicinity.

A cougher and spitter of phlegm can be avoided by simply walking around them. Strangers don't walk into your home and spit on your counters, mice leave droppings and have way more potential to spread disease than do human beings who haven't been domesticated yet.


frum single female said...

i say we export all mice to the homes of animal rights activists. they wont mind!

inkstainedhands said...

Your point is?

I understand you don't want to have mice around because they leave droppings behind and might carry diseases. Nobody is asking you to share your apartment with rodents if you don't want to. What the writer of the letter says is that if you don't want these mice in your house, ok, just do it in a humane way! That's not so hard, is it? That way, you will be comfortable because you'll be able to get rid of the mice, and at the same time, the mice won't have to be tortured by human selfishness.

That's what the main part of her letter is about... except you didn't focus on it.

inkstainedhands said...

frum single female -- While I am not really an activist, you're more than welcome to give me your mice. I wouldn't mind. Honestly.

My comment wasn't just a bunch of empty words. I mean what I say.

frumskeptic said...


She compared mice to babies. She compared the diseases mice spread to those humans spread by use of phlegm of subway rails. And she compared HOW the diseases spread.

There are no comparisons.

Aside from that, I would *never* touch a mouse trap if the mouse is not already dead. Infact, if it were a "humane" mouse trap, I'd probably touch it only cuz i have to with tongs or something and suffocate the mouse because I'd stick it into the nearest plastic bag to be double sure it wouldn't run out.

So, as "humane" as the trap is, its totally impractical. Cuz I konw for sure, most girlies are like me, and wouldn't touch it.

Plus order to get that mouse far away from where people are, you'd have to stick it into your car to drvie it there. This *is* NY afterall (and the paper is NY based) we live ontop of eachother!

The most humane I'll get is buying a cat so that it prevents the mice from ever entering. But if it enters, I'm having no mercy...kinda like with bugs!

Child Ish Behavior said...

First, thanks for the link. Second, maybe the lady would like everyone to talk the mice to death. The point is the real fallacy is that she thinks there is value in things outside the value people give things. The only thing mice do in a house is annoy, so they must be killed because to humanity they have no use at all. Only thinks that society and the people in it attribute value to actually have any worth. Since the mouse is going to be killed, why not kill it any way we want? After Noach, all the animals are ours to do with as we see fit.

Moshe said...

Keep the mice, but if you get rats, bring them to me.
Btw, if you release mice in an empty lot they'll just come back.
A cat is the best deterrent, not because it will necessarily hunt them, but because they're afraid of its smell.

inkstainedhands said...

"Having no mercy" -- I thought we were supposed to emulate G-d and G-d is merciful?

Child Ish Behavior -- After Noach, we were allowed to use animals for our pleasure, but it still has to be done in a humane way. Tzar baalei chayim! Mice are G-d's creations, no matter how much or how little value humans attach to them. Everything has a purpose in this world... some people just don't see it.

Moshe -- I'm getting rats in the summer!! They're fancy rats though.

Jessica said...

That lady is wrong. The mice won't starve to death. They usually bite their legs off to get detached from the glue. (No joke, my father was an exterminator for years.)

mlevin said...

Jessica - EWWWW I was about to eat, and now I feel sick. EWWWWWW

SubWife said...

I would like to make two points.
1. In order to be effective, one has to have a lot of mouse traps in the house. And those humane mouse traps are much more expensive than glue traps. (If PETA is so concerned, they should offer them at a discount to anyone with mouse problem.) Humane mouse traps are also much bigger, which presentx a problem in positioning them in the spaces where mice usually go, like under the counters, etc.

2. Like Moshe said, if you let the mouse out too close to home, it will just come back. And outside of their natural habitat, which happens to be human home, these mice starve to death, just like they do in a glue trap. They don't know how to survive in the forest or in the field. They also become easy prey for other animals. So their fate is not that humane after all.

Personally, I find glue traps cruel and disgusting. But so far, I haven't seen anything that would be just as cost effective and, well, effective. So when the choice comes between my well-being and the well-being of mice - I choose myself and my family.

Dina said...

There are the traps that slam down on the mice and kill them, supposedly instantly. It should also be kept in mind that there is a prohibition against tza'ar baalei chaim; Rav Scheinberg, I think, spoke out against a certain type of pigeon trap. Animals may not have rights, as such; but it really disgusts me when people so easily dismiss concerns over animal suffering. Yes, I have had mice infest my apartment, and it was incredibly annoying. I still think people should do a bit of research and at least chose the most painless method of extermination.

Moshe said...

That would be a cat.
If you don't have a cat, you can shoot them with a 22. Great activity for kids and will teach them patience too.

SubWife said...


I am with you. I hate when people dismiss animal suffering without much consideration.

BUT: During our mouse infestation, I have done my research and can tell you that we didn't find anything better than glue traps. Like I said, humane traps are ineffective and expensive. The traps you are talking about, the ones that supposedly kill mice instantaneously, don't always do what they promise, based on my research and not safe with children around. Plus there's an added element of mice brains splashed all over the site of the trap. Not pretty.

We even went as far as ordering a trap that promised killing mice more humanely, with electric charge. We spent $25 on it (just one trap!), and it didn't work.

The only other option was poison, which again didn't work and made me lose sleep because of little kids getting into everything.

So at the end we settled on glue traps, however disgusting we find them.If there's something I missed in my research, I would love to hear about alternatives. Thank Gd we don't have mice now, but one can never be too ready.

inkstainedhands said...

If the cost is a concern, live traps are actually better because they can be reused numerous times. Glue traps, on the other hand, are not reusable and have to be replaced every time you catch a mouse.

Anonymous said...

i like glue traps because they are so much more inhumane. they are mice for heaven sake. WHO CARES besides the crazy PETA people? they carry diseases from the sewer do really want to keep them alive??? i do not! the more that die the safer we are.


frumskeptic said...

inkstainedhands- on being merciful - I wouldn't kill a mouse outside the house, but if its inside, I'm scared of it, I don't want it,and therefore I'm killing it. just like with roaches. they're not wanted inside, but I have to respect them if they're outside.

moshe- I'm all for the getting a cat. the only problem is is that some have allergies others don't like them. I wouldn't buy a cat pre-kids, cuz preggys don't agree with cat odors either. plus, having a cat with a baby in the house isn't necessarily safe.

my parents have it smart. the guy that lives in our basement has a cat...:). we get all the benefits, and we don't have to come near it or smell it or feed it. :-)

jessica- ewwww!

Moshe said...

"having a cat with a baby in the house isn't necessarily safe."

If you gonna tell me about the urban legend of cats sittings on infants and smothering them, I'm gonna smack you.

frumskeptic said...

lol. no. I'm talking about when the kid starts to crawl and walk, s/he may hurt the cat by being to grabby... it happens. not often, but it happens. just a precaution.

SubWife said...

Cats also carry germs and parasites... That's why preggies are not supposed to change cat litter.

frumskeptic said...

subwife- yup I heard that, which is why I mentioned preggies. I don't think the cat litter affects the born babies though.

frumskeptic said...

I mean if the babies smell it. clearly the babes shouldn't be playing in

Ben said...

I recall having shabbos lunch at my fiancee's place. They'd had a mice problem, and the landlord had put down glue traps in various places. During the course of lunch we all became aware of squealling noises from under the cooker. On investigation we saw that the cause of the noise was a mouse stuck on a glue pad. It was in great distress. Being shabbos, there wasn't much we could do. After shabbos, I went back to deal with the mouse. It was still alive, and had ripped at least one of its legs open trying to release itself. It was not a pleasant sight. I put it out of its misery. That wasn't a pleasant experience.

Round about the same time, I also had a mouse problem where I was living. We tried the humane traps, but they didn't work very well. We moved onto lethal traps, baited with peanut butter. That worked much better, with less sufferring to the mice. The traps could be reused. The sticky pads can't.

Sensitivity to animal's pain should make one more sensitive to people. People like PETA get only half of it right.
That letter writer is right: sticky pads are cruel. Equating people and animals is wrong.

I don't know whether this influences your thinking, but there are halachos about how animal should be treated, even down to making sure you feed your animals before you eat your self.
There's a story in the talmud about a rabbi, when seeing an animal squealling as it is was being taken away for slaughter said to it "that's what you were created for". He was struck with a painful condition for many years from which he was released only after helping some small animal, a weasel or something like comes to mind.

inkstainedhands said...

Yes, I remember that... It was Yehuda HaNasi (more commonly known as Rebbi). He was in constant pain after that until the incident with the weasels. His housekeeper found weasels (or maybe some other type of rodents) in the house and was going to kill them or something. He stopped her, saying that they are G-d's creatures, and for that the pain subsided.

frumskeptic said...

Ben -"It was still alive, and had ripped at least one of its legs open trying to release itself."

After that and what Jessica said, I don't think I'll ever consider the glue traps...Gd willingly I'll never have to deal with mice, but if I have an infestation, and I can't get a cat to scare them off (for the reasons mentioned), I'm so going for those live traps with the bait... cuz handling some dead mice guts is one thing (even if splattered as subwife said), but seeing legs off is a whole other story...I can't get over it...ewwwww!

but, still, in many cases PETA wouldn't want the mouse dead at all! SO its not even about reduced suffering, but is about keeping the mouse alive.

Moshe said...

btw, PETA's full of bs. They kill stray animals daily.