Q & A: Why Fertility Control is Good for Rats

Question: Several WISDOM Good Works projects are within sensitive animal environments such as zoos, animal sanctuaries and, of course, the Galapagos Islands. Places where animal welfare is a high concern. Are you concerned about the welfare of the rodents too?

Dr. Mayer: Absolutely! Groups wanting to improve animal welfare have asked, “If you reduce the rodent population, is that a net negative or a net positive?” And I tell them, “Well, if you’re the rodent, it’s a net positive.”

Question: And why is that?

Dr. Mayer: The physical energy that reproduction requires is very costly. So in a lower population, where the female is either not having so many pups per litter, or fewer litters per year, or none at all, there’s a high probability she will live longer. This is not only true for animals, by the way. Have you had any children?

Question: No.

Dr. Mayer: Well then, you’re probably going to outlive me, because I’ve reproduced.

Question: That’s interesting. I had no idea.

Dr. Mayer: The other thing that’s possible, although we haven’t completely tested it yet, is that our pellets, what Dr. Dyer has created, are actually of great nutritional value. Like your mouse at….

Dr. Dyer: Oh yeah. We were testing this new pellet bait at the Kanab Utah project last summer. It’s pretty much a closed population because of the way they built the facility. We ran across this clearly very old, very frail mouse that we named Gladys. She’d seen it all, and she was in terrible shape. She was shaking. She was hunched over. When a mouse hunches, it’s not in good shape. It’s experiencing a lot of pain. Honestly, I didn’t know why she hadn’t passed because she was literally on death’s door. And then she started eating the bait.

Dr. Mayer: Cheryl would see her because we would go there every two weeks.

Dr. Dyer: Sometimes once a week. Well, Gladys got better. Much better. She even got fat.

Dr. Mayer: Cheryl would hand feed her. And after witnessing this transformation in Gladys we began to realize this formulation provides very high nutrition. We started thinking about how rodents are used for models of human disease. And how the active ingredient in our pellets has an effect on inflammation. It has an effect on, you know, arthritis, joint pain. So because of Gladys, we began to wonder if our fertility control pellets are really creating healthier rodents.

Question: Why is it important to have healthier rodents?

Dr. Mayer: The most important thing is that it improves their immune systems. The better their immune systems, the worse disease vectors they become. Because they’re not carrying so much disease.

Question: And it’s the disease that rats carry that tend to worry people.

Dr. Dyer: Can I just bring up one more thing? The other thing about rats and mice, particularly rats in urban settings, in poor neighborhoods. Living with vermin is hard on you. Your children are at risk—not only for the poison that’s being put out but also, they can be bitten by rats. You are competing with those rats for your own food in your own kitchen.

Dr. Mayer: Which is another reason why humane, non-poisonous fertility control is so important. We know non-poisonous alternatives are better for the planet—our soil, our water, our air. We know it’s safer for people, particularly children. We know it’s safer for the other animals who eat rats as part of the food chain, such as snakes, raptors, mountain lions, etc. But as it turns out, it’s good for the rats, too.