Why Boredom Is An Animal Welfare Issue : 13.7: Cosmos And … – NPR

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 12, 2017 in Rat News
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Animals can get bored, too, says Barbara J. King.

Animals can get bored, too, says Barbara J. King.

Think about the last time you were bored — seriously and persistently bored.

Maybe you had to carry out some mind-numbing repetitive task for hours on end, or maybe you were just trapped at the airport or train station, waiting out a lengthy delay without a good conversational partner, book, or movie. You look at a clock and it seems to move at a surreal, glacial pace.

Charlotte C. Burn, a biologist at The Royal Veterinary College of the University of London, captures that feeling in her definition of boredom:

“Boredom is an unpleasant emotion including suboptimal arousal levels and a thwarted motivation to experience almost anything different or more arousing than the behaviors and sensations currently possible. It arises when we perceive that there is ‘nothing to do’ or are ‘tired of doing the same thing’, and is accompanied by a sense of time dragging.”

This definition comes from Burn’s essay in the August issue of Animal Behaviour, where she explains that far from being a uniquely human emotion, boredom is felt by many animals ranging from farmed pigs to companion dogs that may be left alone at home for long periods.

“Chronic boredom is distressing and damaging in humans yet barely studied in animals,” Burn notes. In her essay, she explores ways to measure boredom — a key first step to ameliorating it — in different animal species.

In an email to me, Burn describes how her own observations helped her start to develop this argument:

“I was personally struck by it when I did some work with lab rats at the same time as having pet rats and observing wild rats near my home. The huge contrast in stimulation, cognitive requirement and behavioral possibilities between them was impossible to ignore.

Even though my lab rats had as much enrichment as I could fit in their cage, they just had almost nothing to do, every day was the same, they had no ‘life story’ and nothing to learn or decide about.”

Animals, of course, can’t tell us in words about their inner states. One thing I especially like about Burn’s perspective is her way of distinguishing between animal boredom, on the one hand, and apathy or depression on the other. “Boredom occurs when arousal inputs are low, but arousal motivation is high,” she writes in Animal Behaviour. Bored animals seek out ways to become unbored, whereas animals who are depressed often can’t summon the will to seek out alternatives.

To some degree and in some situations, boredom may be adaptive. Boredom might motivate young animals to seek out stimulation that helps them learn about their world.

It might, too, “spark creativity and innovation in animals,” a statement that reminded me of reading about the fantastically creative orangutan Wattana, who tied knots and created weavings through the use of strings, laces, satin ribbons, rubber bands, wool and other materials at the Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

It may not, then, be the species thought to be more intelligent that we should worry about most when it comes to boredom. Burns says:

“More intelligent species may be able to come up with ‘creative’ solutions to their relatively limited environments, such as the playfulness and tool use we sometimes see only in captivity. Also, perhaps almost any animal can get bored if it has nothing relevant to do and all its other needs are fulfilled. I’m thinking here of, say, grazing animals who are fed concentrated food — they’d be happy grazing all day, but now they are not hungry, what else can they fill their time with?”

If animals — no matter their smartness quotient — are forced to endure boredom for a long time, seriously negative consequences may accrue. Marymount University psychologist Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, who has carried out research on trauma in chimpanzees rescued from biomedical laboratories, put it this way, via email:

“Boredom in captivity can absolutely lead to depression. Many animals in captivity engage in abnormal, repetitive behaviors, like pacing and self-biting, in an attempt to self-stimulate in the absence of social, cognitive, or environmental stimulation.

These behaviors are seen in a variety of species, including primates, elephants, dogs, and large cats, in different captive environments, suggesting they are generalized coping mechanisms for stress and boredom.”

When environments are extremely restrictive, even sterile, as in some laboratories, Lopresti-Goodman says, the harm may be the greatest. Animals may pull their own hair or bang their heads against their cages: “In nonhuman primates, for example,” she says, “these behaviors have been equated with symptoms of psychopathology, including generalized anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

Burn’s comment that environmental enrichment for her lab rats just wasn’t enough is significant. For some animals in some captive contexts, it’s extremely challenging, if at all possible, to give them mental stimulation even remotely approaching what they would experience if allowed their freedom. As the work of Canadian photographer and activist Jo-Anne McArthur powerfully conveys, I think, the notion that enrichment for zoo animals is either ubiquitous or adequate is naïve.

We need to look inward, too — at our own homes. “As for the pets we live with,” Burn says, “this is all a reminder that even if animals are healthy and loved, they can still suffer — and perhaps REALLY suffer — from sameness and lack of stimulation.” Taking measures to combat boredom in our animal companions may range from giving them extra time, attention and toys to offering them food puzzles on a regular basis.

As Burn writes in Animal Behaviour, boredom “is potentially a severe and highly prevalent animal welfare issue neglected too long.”

Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals, and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara’s new book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. You can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/08/10/542438808/dogs-and-pigs-get-bored-too

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Fire marshal’s office: Cliffside Apartments fire caused by unattended …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 11, 2017 in Rat News
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SUNDERLAND — A fire at Cliffside Apartments that sent one to the hospital with smoke inhalation was caused by unattended cooking, according to a spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Jennifer Mieth said Thursday evening that an individual noticed the fire start, but suffered smoke inhalation after entering the room to try and put it out. That person was transported to the hospital.

Firefighters from nearly ten neighboring towns responded to the report of a fire at the M building of the apartment community at 248 Amherst Road around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters rescued pet rats, a cat and a small dog from the building. None of the animals were harmed, despite heavy smoke damage inside.

Mieth said cooking is the number one cause of fires in homes and of fire-related injuries. She said the fire marshal’s office promotes two safety-related messages:

“Stand by your pan” Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking

“Put a lid on it.” Should a stove top fire occur, place a lid over it and turn off the heat, and the flames should smother.

Article source: http://www.recorder.com/a1-sunderland-fire-cause-11799502

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Nordstrom Unveils New Fall Fashion Campaign | 08/07/17 | Markets …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 10, 2017 in Rat News
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SEATTLE, Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Nordstrom, Inc. launched a new national brand campaign shot by photographer Max Farago with video by director Clara Cullen, which celebrates the best of fall fashion. The campaign will debut on August 7 in the U.S. and on September 4 in Canada with print, digital, social, out of home and video components. 

The campaign vision and concept was developed by Olivia Kim, Vice President of Creative Projects at Nordstrom, who has set the creative tone for the retailer’s last five brand campaigns. Kim along with her creative team tapped Farago and Cullen, the husband and wife creative duo favored by the fashion world, to bring their vision to life.

The campaign features intimate and honest portraits of models and non-models alike, minimally edited and styled how people really dress to depict a modern and relevant perspective on a high-fashion campaign.  The full campaign imagery and videos can be seen at Nordstrom.com/Fall2017. 

“People are the foundation of Nordstrom,” said Kim. “Our customers and employees are at the center of everything we do. They are our friends and our friends-of-friends, and this season we wanted to convey a sense of community and celebrate real people who are doing great and extraordinary things, who inspire us in our everyday lives. 

“We see the brand campaigns as our opportunity to tell our most fashion-forward story, yet this season we put the focus back on the people. We cast people we find inspiring, who have something to say and use their voice for positive impact and influence whether through art, education, journalism or mixed media. Most of all, we wanted to celebrate them and their immense talents.”

Farago is a Los Angeles-based photographer whose work has been exhibited at New York’s Canada Gallery, London’sJonathan Viner Gallery and The Future of the Photography Museum at Foam in Amsterdam. His commissioned features and portraits have appeared in Vogue Paris, Purple Magazine, The New Yorker, and the New York Times, to name a few. 

Cullen is a director who works in a range of mediums, proposing new ways of showing moving image using the newest technologies and the internet as her primary platform. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, NOWNESS, Purple and Love Magazine, with commissioned work for various fashion brands.

In her role, Kim focuses on creating energy, excitement, a sense of discovery and a bit of disruption through engaging and unique shopping experiences at Nordstrom, both in-stores and online. Kim joined Nordstrom in February 2013, and her Creative Projects initiatives have established Nordstrom as a retail platform to test new partnerships, concept shops and to bring limited distribution collections to customers, as well as introduce customers to the best up-and-coming brands and new talent.

With her creative mind and unique perspective as a merchant, Kim took on the role of setting the vision for the company’s brand campaigns in Spring 2016, the retailer’s first in 15 years. Following her inaugural “See Anew” campaign, “We Are Here” from Fall 2016, and “Love, Nordstrom” from the holiday season, and the Spring 2017 campaign shot by Petra Collins. The Fall 2017 campaign marks Kim’s fifth developed for Nordstrom.

The cast includes: 

  • Actress and television journalist Hailey Gates, host of VICELAND’s series States of Undress, in which she explores geopolitics through the lens of fashion. Her work takes her to conflict zones around the world for international fashion weeks.
  • Camryn Taylor, Lourdes Taylor, Nia Parker and Nia Lyons, classically trained ballerinas of The Hipletâ„¢ and the most senior dancers at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. The Hipletâ„¢ have appeared in a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Show, TEDxSanFrancisco, theNew York Times and CNN. Their YouTube videos have gathered over hundreds of thousands of views.
    Homer Hans Bryant, the artistic director and founder of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center who conceived dance group phenom The Hipletâ„¢ which showcases dancers en pointe interplaying hip-hop movements with classical styles.
  • Designer Vejas Kruszewski(in his collection) andSaam Emme, the creative team behind the label Vejas. Their designs redefine conventional streetwear, breaking borders and blending youth culture with studious fashion history. Vejas was awarded the LVMH Special Prize in 2016.
  • Contemporary art curator Angela Goding, who has a formidable reputation in the New York art world for her instincts and distinct fashion sense.
  • Twenty-nine-year-old painter, sculptor and model Jane Moseley, who spent six years in New York resisting the lure of the modeling industry, then became a fashion sensation after walking in Balenciaga’s fall 2016 show. She has a collection of horror-movie-inspired tattoos, and a dog, five cats, a lizard, a hedgehog and two pet rats.
  • Tom di Maria, director of Creative Growth Art Center, which provides studio space, representation, instruction and opportunity for personal expression to adult artists with mental, developmental or physical disabilities. Artists from the center exhibit in museums and esteemed collections worldwide.
    Elizabeth Rangel, a self-taught artist and designer who works in textiles and fashion.
    William Scott, a self-taught artist whose work appears in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Oakland Museum of California.
  • Marc and Ian Hundley, artists and twin brothers. Marc creates text-based posters incorporating references to literature, lyrics and film; he also makes furniture. Ian constructs colorful, large-scale quilts based on topographic maps. 
  • French-born Londoner Hayett McCarthy, a former dog groomer, record-label intern, bartender and sandwich-board carrier, now a model for top fashion brands including Hermès, ACNE Studios, Burberry, COACH and Vetements, among others.
  • Twenty-three-year-old Seattle native Ebonee Davis, a model and activist advocating for more diversity in the fashion industry. In a TED Talk, she discussed her path to self-acceptance and her case for creating positive, inclusive imagery.

Highlights of brands featured in the campaign include: 

EDITOR’S NOTE: To download images and video, please visit HERE for imagery and HERE for video.  

ABOUT NORDSTROM

Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer based in the U.S. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 354 stores in 40 states, including 122 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; 221 Nordstrom Rack stores; two Jeffrey boutiques; and two clearance stores. Additionally, customers are served online through Nordstrom.com, Nordstromrack.com and HauteLook. The company also owns Trunk Club, a personalized clothing service serving customers online at TrunkClub.com and its seven clubhouses. Nordstrom, Inc.’s common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.

Contact:
Brie Cross
Nordstrom, Inc.
206.303.4315
rel=”nofollow”brie.cross@nordstrom.com

 

Nordstrom Incorporated logo. (PRNewsFoto)

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nordstrom-unveils-new-fall-fashion-campaign-300500434.html

SOURCE Nordstrom, Inc.

Article source: http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/Nordstrom-Unveils-New-Fall-Fashion-Campaign-1001913615

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The row over rats in a block of flats that saw one woman spat at in …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 9, 2017 in Rat News
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A nauseating row over rats in a block of flats has led to two tenants being convicted of violence towards neighbours.

One tenant in the block of flats has been accused by neighbours of attracting wild rats, keeping them in his room and feeding them.

One neighbour said she had even taken a photograph on her mobile phone of a rat against the
window and that they would climb over a kettle and utensils. A court also heard that they would “bite through doors” to get into other flats.

Before the court was 50-year-old Peter Brian Jones. He was found guilty of common assault on Michelle Atherton by spitting in her face on May 25. He denied this and told the court: “I haven’t done it. I am the victim. I haven’t got a rat infestation.”

But Miss Atherton, 20, a neighbour from across the road, told the court: “I have seen them myself.”

Gareth Parry, prosecuting, said Miss Atherton had friends in the block of flats and was concerned that Jones “kept rats in his room, not pet rats but wild rats. The suggestion was that he was encouraging them by feeding them”.

He said: “She tried to speak to the defendant about the rat problem but he refused to engage with her.”

Tenants in the block of flats said they had seen rats climb over a kettle and kitchen utensils (the rats pictured are not from the block of flats)
(Image: Staffan Vilcans/Flickr)

In May, police were at the block and Miss Atherton took the opportunity to go across and this was when Jones spat in her face during an exchange, said Mr Parry.

In evidence, Miss Atherton said there was a baby and young children in the flats and the rats would “bite through doors” into other people’s property. Rat poison had been removed by Jones, she alleged.

“They climb on the windows,” she said. “I told him it was unhygienic.”

In a victim statement, Miss Atherton said she showered and washed her hair after being spat at.

“I would rather be punched in the face,” she said.

At Llandudno magistrates court, chairwoman Jean Bryson told Jones, of Butterton Road, Rhyl – who she described as vulnerable – that his sentencing would be adjourned for a probation report. He is due to be sentenced on Friday.

She said: “We find this a disturbing case involving a vulnerable person who may have been provoked and members of the community who were clearly
concerned about rats.”

Mrs Bryson said the evidence of Miss Atherton was clear and credible, and she had admitted her part in a forceful exchange in which bad language was used.

She said: “We are sure beyond reasonable doubt that Peter Jones spat at Miss Atherton and therefore find Mr Jones guilty.”


But 10 days after he was found guilty, Jones, 50, returned to court as a victim. Tenant Kiri Booth, 28, was found guilty of threatening behaviour with intent to cause him fear of violence.

She agreed that she had threatened to stab him but denied holding a knife with an 11-inch blade against his face as she did so. Booth said the knife had remained beneath her mattress where she kept it for protection.

Sarah Marsh, prosecuting, said the row happened at 2.30am on June 17 when Booth confronted Jones, who was removing rat poison downstairs which had been laid by other residents because of an infestation.

Jones told defence solicitor Alex Fitzgerald it wasn’t true he had provoked and invited a confrontation by picking up the poison. She was holding the knife within five or six inches of his eye and shouting at him, he said.

In a police interview Booth had maintained Jones would remove the poison and sometimes “take rats back up to his flat”.

Booth said in evidence she had demanded of Jones: “Why are you doing this, putting other people’s lives at risk?”

She agreed she had threatened to stab him “to scare him into not picking up the poison or taking rats up. But I did not have a knife with me.”

Kiri Booth, with blonde hair, was found guilty of threatening behaviour towards Peter Jones
(Image: Derek Bellis)

Her partner, Michael Edwards, and a young man who was a lodger both denied that she’d had a knife.

Mr Fitzgerald said there had not been a threat of immediate violence, but referring to the rat problem, said: “There is a very unedifying background in many respects.”

Court chairman David Davies, finding Booth guilty, said : “We are satisfied that you made the threat and with a knife in your hand.”

Booth, who said she had since moved to a flat in John Street, Rhyl, was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for a year, with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She must pay £515 costs – and £150 compensation to Mr Jones.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/row-over-rats-block-flats-13449098

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Laura Muir squeezed out of 1500m bronze by Caster Semenya in thrilling final

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 8, 2017 in Rat News
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In third until the final strides, Muir was powerless to resist her fast-finishing rival. Seventh at the Olympics, now fourth at the worlds, the Scot reaffirmed her credentials to be anointed the poster-girl of British track and field, even if she could not quite grasp the medal she coveted. Laura Weightman, likewise, produced one of the performances of her life to take sixth. Kipyegon, however, remains out in front. Now the world and Olympic champion at 23, she could yet establish herself as a legend.

Muir took it straight to the front, as is her wont, with Kipyegon at her shoulder. It was not the briskest lap, at 65 seconds, as Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba positioned herself in her wake. In one worrying moment, Muir was clipped from behind, but kept her composure. Just as happened at the Rio Games 12 months earlier, Hassan and Dibaba led a devastating surge in speed, but amid deafening acclaim from the London audience she held on until the dying seconds, when Semenya reeled her in. Usually a sanguine soul, Muir was fighting back tears as she digested the disappointment. “Last year in Rio was hard, now this,” she said, quietly. “I’m a bit up and down. It’s gutting.”

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/athletics/2017/08/07/london-2017-world-championships-live-updates-laura-muir-hunt/

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Britain’s Laura Muir out to be Dairy Queen of the track at these World …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 6, 2017 in Rat News
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Laura Muir aims to go from milkmaid to gold top at the World Athletics Championships .

The last time the eyes of the track and field world focused on London, the trainee vet was to be found milking cows in a Scottish dairy.

Five years on from those Olympics, which she watched in “awe”, Muir has the opportunity to succeed Jess Ennis-Hill as Britain’s golden girl.

She will not be favourite to win either the 1500m – which stages its heats on Friday – or the 5,000m, which comes next week.

But she has shown enough this year for the world to know this is one young lady who won’t be pushed around inside the Olympic Stadium.

Belgrade 2017 brought two golds for Muir — now to do it outdoors in London!
(Image: Getty)

Not just with the two European Indoor titles she won in March, which made her only the second Briton after Colin Jackson to win two titles at the same Euro Indoor Champs.

But with her refusal to allow a spoilsport official to prevent her from celebrating the first of those gold medals with a lap of honour around the Belgrade track.

“People still ask me about that,” she said. “It’s one of those that’s going to stay with me for the rest of my career! But I think I’ll be OK in London. The crowd will have something to say about that if I don’t get around on a lap of honour.”

When Muir, 24, gets an idea in her head woe betide anyone who gets in her way.

Some questioned her ­decision to compete in two events, which require five races in nine days. They didn’t change her mind.

Laura Muir is helped up by Laura Weightman after the Women's 1500m

The Olympic 1500m final in Rio went badly wrong for Muir
(Image: PA Wire)

Others found fault with her all-or-nothing strategy in the 1500m at last summer’s Rio Olympics, ­chasing the pace when running her own race would have secured a medal.

She didn’t bow to them ­either, instead dusting ­herself down and, on her very next ­outing in Paris, taking more than two seconds off the British record.

Her time of 3:55.22 then is faster than anyone has run this year and ­confirms she has the potential to rock the world over the shorter ­distance.

As do the other four British and two European records she has set since Rio.

She might only be 5ft 4in yet the athlete who spent her first £150 of prize money on a cage for her pet rats is fearless.

No surprise then that her ­favourite film is the true story of the champion American racehorse Seabiscuit.

Iconic (and famously undersized) racehorse Seabiscuit’s story was turned into a movie
(Image: Reuters)

“Seabiscuit was small fry yet he came to win,” said Muir.

Enough said.

The world has been warned.

LAURA MUIR’S SCHEDULE

Friday 1500m heats

Saturday 1500m semi-finals

Monday 1500m final

Thursday 5000m semi-finals

Sunday 5000m final.

Article source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/athletics/britains-laura-muir-out-dairy-10920839

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Virus found in domestic pet rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 5, 2017 in Rat News
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………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ……….

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There is a subset of animal lovers with pet rats. I like these gentle creatures. I’ve had their genetic cousins, gerbils, myself. What’s new with rats is that the CDC has made us aware of Seoul virus. Originally discovered in South Korea, this infectious organism is found in wild rats all over the world.

Dr. Jeff NicholThere is nothing new about the Seoul virus in urban and feral rats, but, according to a recent report, this infectious organism “was recently found in their tamed counterparts in the United States. Since December 2016, 17 people have tested positive in seven states.” The investigation spread to include 31 home-based “ratteries.” That’s right; if you breed rats, you have a rattery.

The bulletin continues. “More than a third of the home-based rat breeders had rats that tested positive,” said Barbara Knust, DVM, veterinary epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Once it gets into a colony, we know Seoul virus can spread easily.”

Affected facilities include home-based colonies where the rodents are bred for sale as well as residences with pet rats. “While infected rats show no signs of illness, they shed the virus in urine, feces and saliva and can be life-long transmitters, placing other rats and human handlers at risk. There is no treatment.”

People can become exposed by breathing in aerosolized virus particles that can be stirred up by cage cleaning or through bites or scratches from an infected rat. “It takes as long as eight weeks for symptoms to develop in humans, if they surface at all. Illness is typically mild and flulike, but can include kidney problems, bleeding, or even death in rare cases. There have been no human fatalities in the United States, although three people have been hospitalized. No evidence exists that other household pets are at risk of infection from rats.”

This is sobering news for anyone who lives with rats. To put your mind at ease you can have them blood tested for Seoul virus.

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Dr. Jeff Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). Questions on pet behavioral or physical concerns? For answers, Like my Facebook page at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.

 

Article source: https://www.abqjournal.com/1043203/virus-found-in-domestic-pet-rats.html

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Guest Commentary: What diseases do rats carry?

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 4, 2017 in Rat News
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There have been many reports in The Westerly Sun in recent days about rats. There is much public and private concern about some obvious infestations. Nevertheless, we should remember that rats are present less apparently elsewhere in our communities on both sides of the river.

Most of us are familiar with the history of the Black Death, an epidemic of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that led to the death of millions of people during the 14th century. Rats have a long history, are not native to North America and traveled in ships to settle here with us. New York City has budgeted $32 million to combat its rat problem. Rat infestations have made the news in Rhode Island in 2016 and 2017 in North Providence, Warwick and Providence.

About 15 or 20 years ago a friend gave me as a birthday present a beautiful handmade wooden bird feeder for my office on East Avenue. I put up the feeder outside and added some seeds. The next morning when I came in early to the office I looked out the window to see if there were any birds present. No birds were to be seen, but there were two brown rats at the bird seed already! There must have been a nest of rats somewhere in the neighborhood that had not been noticed. Needless to say, I removed the feeder immediately. On one occasion I saw a rat running in front of my headlights in Dixon Square before dawn after an all-nighter in the hospital. Rats become more apparent from time to time and then are the subject of public anxiety and subsequent extermination campaigns, which are often quite effective. They are always around waiting for an opportunity and I will describe some of the diseases that they are known to carry.


Leptospirosis is an acute disease characterized by fever, muscle aches and headache, and can be initially confused with other febrile illnesses. It is caused by Leptospira bacteria that chronically colonize rats’ kidneys; rat urine wet or dry is then infectious for long periods of time. The most important source of human infection is the brown rat. These bacteria, contaminating surfaces or soil or water wherever rats have been, can infect us through contact with eye, oral surfaces, cuts or abrasions. Lack of sanitation in housing increases the risk of exposure. The incidence of Leptospirosis appears to increase after storms or floods as well. When managing patients, clinical suspicion is important; there are diagnostic blood tests, but prevention is best. Leptospirosis is a quite rare disease in the United States and we should keep it that way. It was described about a hundred years ago and research has yielded new information about leptosperes and the disease is now known to be an increasing problem in the world.

Rats’ droppings are known to be a source of contamination of food or water with Salmonella bacteria. Symptoms start one to three days after oral ingestion. The patient suffers diarrhea, fever and severe crampy abdominal pain. Patients with this disease are seen from time to time by local physicians.

Rat bite fever is caused by a germ with the imposing name Streptobacillus moniliformis and is characterized by intermittent fevers, rash, migratory arthritis and a 10 percent mortality rate when untreated. Traditionally the typical case was that of a child under the age of 5 living in poverty and bitten by a wild rat. Rats that carry the disease often do not appear to be sick. Not all of the cases have had a specific history of bite but have been exposed in other ways — for example by a scratch from an infected animal. Pet rats have also been reported as a source of this disease. Rat bite fever is also uncommon and requires careful diagnostic efforts.


Rats are the source and fleas are the transmission agent for the small bacteria that cause murine typhus. This disease is mostly seen in southern Texas and southern California. There are other rat-borne illnesses such as rat tapeworm but these are usually not seen in the United States. The website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that rats cause 35 different diseases worldwide. The plague mentioned previously exists currently in the United States. There have been 7 to 17 cases reported annually in recent years. It occurs usually in the Southwest, and chipmunks and squirrels are involved as well as rats.

Rhode Island state law 23-7.1 states that it shall be the responsibility of local communities to institute rodent control programs and requires the state Department of Health to cooperate with local communities in developing and carrying out such programs. Section 23-7.1-5 allows the director of public health to contribute to local communities for comprehensive rodent control programs. These documents can be found on the internet. I believe that it is a good idea to be proactive when it comes to rats.

Tobias Goodman, M.D., is a retired Westerly physician and the former health coordinator for the Town of Westerly.




Article source: http://www.thewesterlysun.com/opinion/editorials/10673377-154/guest-commentary-what-diseases-do-rats-carry.html

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Britain’s Laura Muir out to be Dairy Queen of the track at these World Championships

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 3, 2017 in Rat News
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Laura Muir aims to go from milkmaid to gold top at the World Athletics Championships .

The last time the eyes of the track and field world focused on London, the trainee vet was to be found milking cows in a Scottish dairy.

Five years on from those Olympics, which she watched in “awe”, Muir has the opportunity to succeed Jess Ennis-Hill as Britain’s golden girl.

She will not be favourite to win either the 1500m – which stages its heats on Friday – or the 5,000m, which comes next week.

But she has shown enough this year for the world to know this is one young lady who won’t be pushed around inside the Olympic Stadium.

Belgrade 2017 brought two golds for Muir — now to do it outdoors in London!
(Image: Getty)

Not just with the two European Indoor titles she won in March, which made her only the second Briton after Colin Jackson to win two titles at the same Euro Indoor Champs.

But with her refusal to allow a spoilsport official to prevent her from celebrating the first of those gold medals with a lap of honour around the Belgrade track.

“People still ask me about that,” she said. “It’s one of those that’s going to stay with me for the rest of my career! But I think I’ll be OK in London. The crowd will have something to say about that if I don’t get around on a lap of honour.”

When Muir, 24, gets an idea in her head woe betide anyone who gets in her way.

Some questioned her ­decision to compete in two events, which require five races in nine days. They didn’t change her mind.

Laura Muir is helped up by Laura Weightman after the Women's 1500m

The Olympic 1500m final in Rio went badly wrong for Muir
(Image: PA Wire)

Others found fault with her all-or-nothing strategy in the 1500m at last summer’s Rio Olympics, ­chasing the pace when running her own race would have secured a medal.

She didn’t bow to them ­either, instead dusting ­herself down and, on her very next ­outing in Paris, taking more than two seconds off the British record.

Her time of 3:55.22 then is faster than anyone has run this year and ­confirms she has the potential to rock the world over the shorter ­distance.

As do the other four British and two European records she has set since Rio.

She might only be 5ft 4in yet the athlete who spent her first £150 of prize money on a cage for her pet rats is fearless.

No surprise then that her ­favourite film is the true story of the champion American racehorse Seabiscuit.

Iconic (and famously undersized) racehorse Seabiscuit’s story was turned into a movie
(Image: Reuters)

“Seabiscuit was small fry yet he came to win,” said Muir.

Enough said.

The world has been warned.

LAURA MUIR’S SCHEDULE

Friday 1500m heats

Saturday 1500m semi-finals

Monday 1500m final

Thursday 5000m semi-finals

Sunday 5000m final.

Article source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/athletics/britains-laura-muir-out-dairy-10920839

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I’ll have a rat with that: San Francisco opens new rodent cafe

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 2, 2017 in Rat News
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By AFP
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SAN FRANCISCO

For a few San Francisco visionaries, rodents proved just the inspiration needed to launch one of the city’s latest eateries: The Rat Cafe.

The pop-up cafe, which opened Saturday, offers visitors a chance to munch on a breakfast of pastries, coffee and tea, and enjoy a bit of play time with a small handful of rats.

Hosted inside The San Francisco Dungeon, an immersive tourist attraction that takes visitors on a journey through the city’s dark past from Alcatraz to the violence and greed of the Gold Rush, the Sh5,000 ($50) breakfast was conceived after some employees began pondering the venue’s section on a black death plague that struck in the early 20th century.

“We tell the story of the (bubonic) plague here in San Francisco and we really thought we wanted to do something special for the summer,” said the Dungeon’s Matthew Gunter.

Sprout the rat cleans herself while standing on the shoulders of a Rattie Ratz volunteer during a popup Rat Cafe at the San Francisco Dungeon in San Francisco, California on July 1, 2017. PHOTO | AFP

“Let’s bring the rats to life, let guests actually get a chance to get up close and personal with rats, of course plague-free rats,” he said.

Several dozen people have shelled out the money to attend one of two breakfast sessions in which they get to interact with approximately six to eight rats and have breakfast. The venue says more breakfasts may be planned at a future date.

Krissi Reeves, a spokeswoman for the Dungeon, said tickets for the July 1 and 8 events sold out in less than an hour.

“The rats are pretty darn cute and the people who purchased tickets, I think they have already decided that they’re gonna like the rats and not be too scared,” she said.

The rats are provided by Rattie Ratz, a California non-profit that helps place pet rats in homes.

“They love to be petted, they’re very affectionate. They’re way more affectionate than any small animal I know,” said the organization’s Jennifer Girgar.

The Rat Cafe opens amid a booming cat cafe trend in parts of Asia and even the United States and Europe, in which visitors sip beverages surrounded by felines which are often available for adoption.

Article source: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/travel/I-ll-have-a-rat-with-that--San-Francisco-s-new-rodent-cafe/1950822-3997752-rrxjlpz/index.html

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