Opinion

Readers React: How to save mountain lions: Stop trying to kill rats

P-47
Mountain lion P-47, seen in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in February, was found dead on March 21. A necropsy revealed poisoning.
(U.S. National Park Service)

To the editor: The answer to California’s wildlife poisoning isn’t to keep killing rats via methods less lethal to other animals.

Indeed, it is easy for a government to blame an unpopular group for our problems and persuade people that exterminating that group will be the answer. That has even happened to human groups. Rats, which are often labeled pests or vermin, and thereby separated from other, equally sentient animals, are a particularly easy scapegoat.

But the difficult truth is that big cities in the West, including Los Angeles, produce millions of pounds of organic garbage, much of it because animal life is treated as a cheap commodity. Instead of attempting to exterminate animals attracted by society’s profligate waste, it is time to clean up our act.

Karen Dawn, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: I was very disturbed by the way your editorial demonized rats.

Rats and highly social, sentient and smart animals, and the only problem we have with them is that they are annoying to us in a number of ways. Please don’t make the fact that we want them killed mean there is anything inherently bad about them.

Sarah Stewart, Gardiner, Mt.

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