Alberta w Kanadzie jest jedynym obszarem kraju, w którym nie występuje szczur wędrowny. Obowiązuje tam zakaz posiadania owego gryzonia w domu, a wszystkie osobniki żyjące na wolności zostają od razu zabite. Wojna z gryzoniami prowadzona jest od wielu lat. Alberta stosuje wszelkie środki, aby zapobiegać przedostawaniu się tych istot gdziekolwiek.
When people talk about propaganda, politically charged images from war times come to mind. Posters pushing issues of racism, sexism and religious conflict spread around the world trying to influence the opinions of common people. My home province, Alberta was and is not immune to propaganda. But there is one vital difference between Alberta and the rest of the world, the war being fought in Alberta was not against the Nazi’s, the Communists or even the Americans but against the common brown rat. The propaganda and resulting physical war against rats in Alberta is absolutely one of the most peculiar things in Alberta’s history. But the legacy of hatred and fear towards the rat has had a lasting impact within Alberta’s borders: today Alberta is the largest rat free area in the world.
In the 1940’s and 50’s when the rat was beginning to show up on Alberta’s doorstep, the government took quick action to take control of the threatened infestation. Public education programs were started and a vicious propaganda campaign was launched. One of the most unbelievable laws put in place was the Agricultural Pests Act of Alberta in 1942. This law stated that if rats were on your property you had to destroy them and had to work to prevent further infestations. If you did not, you would be persecuted by the government and could face jail time. In the 50’s there was 600 rat infestations. By 2000 this number dropped to zero. Populations were removed by guns, explosives, bulldozers, poison, gas and even incendiary devices (fire). If a building was consistently having rat problems it was torn down and moved. Alberta has faced one or two infestations a year since 2000. A control area by the border was created and is still closely monitored throughout the year to watch for the presence of rats (Government of Alberta).
To this day, the Alberta government and its citizens take rats very seriously. If you see a rat you call the government at their special rat line 310 - RATS. Albertan’s like to joke that the government agency which will show up first isn’t the police or firefighters but the rat patrol. Finding a rat, even a dead mummified one, can put you on the front page of newspapers across the province. Alberta’s obsession with rats isn’t limited to those who lurk in the dark, but also to lovable pet rats. Keeping a domestic rat in the province is illegal. If you get caught, the rodent will be confiscated and you will be left with a fine of $5 000 CAD (15 000 zl). Even with a handful of confirmed sightings a year, Alberta maintains its rat free status because breeding pairs are very rare. But people are happy to dispute the province’s claim. Even the Wikipedia page on the brown rat can’t decide if rats live in Alberta or not. The graphic has been changed 17 times since December 12 last year.
Government of Alberta:
Ratatoullie: Alberta Blocks Rats
My name is Madison. I am from Alberta, Canada. I like to read books, go hiking and explore new cities. Even though I am Canadian, I don't watch hockey and I don't like snow. I graduated from The University of Lethbridge in 2018 after studying English Literature and Art History for six years. I have travelled to the Mexican state, Nayarit and to Tokyo, Japan. I hope to travel all over the world.