The Petaluma Wilidlife Museum claims that it is a place that serves to enrich the community and challenges students to go above and beyond, by taking responsibility caring for the animals. What they don't tell you is that they allow students to abuse the rats that are kept by the facility in order to feed the reptiles. Instead of maintaining the animals and terminating them according to state law -- via a CO2 chamber -- the supervising teacher allows and even encourages the students to abuse the animals, keeping them in tiny, crowded, and filthy bins, where they have to take turns standing on their tiptoes up to a mesh ceiling in order to get sufficient air. The students kill the rats in a variety of horrifying ways, including smashing them into rocks, walls, and railings, drowning, and freezing to death. Many animals have sustained injuries as students simply harm them for fun, and a culture of animal torture and harm is being created amongst these students, who believe it is entirely normal to behave this way towards these helpless creatures.
Despite being reported multiple times to the local animal control officers, nothing more than a couple of warnings have been handed to the supervising teacher. Neither the school nor the officers have handed down any sort of punishment to the participants. The proper euthanasia equipment, purchased at the instruction of the officers, now sits unusued in the storage shed for the museum while rats continue to disappear.
Although rats do not have a positive image in society they, like any other animal, deserve to be treated humanely and euthanized humanely and according to state law. They do not deserve to spend their short lives living in fear and pain, and they certainly do not deserve a violent, painful death.
Mr. Governor, please consider either shutting down the museum or prohibiting them from having live rodents on site and prevent this tragedy from continuing. Please view the photos and videos in the link below, obtained by a student of the museum who refuses to accept that this is okay, who has put their grades and eventual graduation at risk by obtaining this evidence. Please view this evidence and send the message that abuse is not okay, no matter how small an animal is.
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