Rat by Anne848Kaiser


									                   The Good and the Bad of the Rat

The rat is a creature with a poor reputation. This is due to the fact that rats are common
opportunistic species that frequently live along side humans and cause problems, like
eating food supplies and transmitting diseases like the plague. But rats have their good
sides as well, and there are a number of ways that rats benefit humanity.

In parts of India and Polynesia rats are commonly eaten. They are even cultivated
in some places like chickens and considered a delicacy. In places where they have
proliferate and people lack other food, eating rats might actually be a life saving food
source for some groups of people.

Due to its short life span and rapid reproduction, rats make a good subject for all kinds
of scientific research. Some species have even been breed over many generations to
have certain characteristics, like a susceptibility to a certain disease, that makes them
ideal models for important medical studies. For every disease caused by this rodent,
there are probably many more that have been cured by using them as subjects in
scientific research.

Rats also have an extraordinarily good sense of smell. This, along with their high
intelligence, has made it possible to train them for sniffing out explosives used in land
mines and even for diagnosing diseases like tuberculosis. Rats also make good pets,
for those who enjoy them, and when kept as pets they are no more likely to cause
disease than a dog or a cat.

While we love to hate them, and their very name is sometimes used as a curse, rats
have a more complicated relationship to humanity that we might like to admit. It could
even be said that without rats, human life would not be what it is, for both the bad and
the good.

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