You Dirty Rat!

Even I know better than to watch this show

Even I know better than to watch this show

No, not talking about a man named Tiger. Today we discuss other morally questionable animal acts, specifically the killing, cooking and eating of rats on the rodent infested reality show, I’m a “Celebrity”… Get Me Outta Here.

Apparently two contestants, aka “celebrities,” Chef Gino D’Acampo and Stuart Manning (?), an actor, “were charged with animal cruelty for acts in connection to the program,” according to the AP. “The killing of a rat for a performance is not acceptable. The concern is this was done purely for the cameras,” David O’Shannessy from the New South Wales RSPCA told the British Broadcasting Corp. (Ed: would it have been okay had it been purely for the taste of rat meat?)

Now I understand that the idea of killing an animal just for kicks is called hunting bad, but where is the line?

Why isn’t hunting considered cruelty to animals you ask? Good question! It’s one we pose in the book… And just to remind you why So Sue Me, Jackass! will be an excellent Christmas gift for both the conservatives and liberals on your list, here’s the Q & A:

Q: Why aren’t hunters arrested for “cruelty to animals”? Killing for sport seems pretty-pretty-pretty cruel to me. . . .

A: Well, my dear liberal sister, though you may find it heartless, like it or not, game hunting is legal in every state. Still, each state has its own specific laws to regulate it: laws that concern the hunting seasons, permits, and weapon usage. For instance, in the state of Maine, you must be at least ten years old before you can shoot dinner. And every state does ban animal cruelty, which is defined as “the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on an animal, usually a tame one, beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous (withholding food and water) that the animal has suffered, died or been put in imminent danger of death.” Currently forty-four states consider certain forms of animal abuse a felony. (Ask former Atlanta Falcon and felonious dog-fighter, Michael Vick, about that one.) Some states go even further, with enhanced penalties for someone who harms an animal that’s a companion (pet).

In one awful case, during a raging domestic brawl a father pulled his kid’s goldfish out of its bowl then stomped on it in front of the child. That’s right, nothing says “I’m your father and deserve respect” like stepping on your kid’s goldfish. Fortunately Bad Dad was later arrested for a host of domestic charges, including cruelty to animals. The defendant tried to argue that he shouldn’t get the enhanced penalty for abusing an animal companion since a goldfish isn’t a pet. But the judge ruled that you can’t limit “animal companions” to dogs and cats; rather, domesticated animals (and apparently putting a fish in a glass bowl counts as “domestication”) like gerbils, hamsters, hermit crabs, and other creatures can be considered animal companions.

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