baby rat
A Utah man was acquitted for eating baby rat on internet video. Image: Danny Chapman/Flickr/CC BY

A Utah man, accused of animal cruelty, has been acquitted in a Salt Lake City courtroom. Andy Ray Harris ate a live baby rat on a video that was posted online in April. Harris argued that the act was “unusual and grotesque,” but not illegal.

Baby rat eaten on a dare

The 31-year-old Harris, from Tooele, Utah, was charged with a class A misdemeanor charge of aggravated animal abuse in April when the video was posted on Facebook. Harris says he ate the infant rodent on a dare.

The 45-second-long video clip, shot on March 16, showed the hairless newborn rodent struggling on a sheet of paper. Harris, urged on by others, then picked up the creature, popped it in his mouth and devoured it. A small crowd is seen cheering him on. Harris then is seen taking a drink from a large mug and high-fiving somebody standing off camera.

The video link was forwarded to the Tooele City Attorney’s Office after being spotted by a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

‘Not an accepted husbandry practice’

The prosecution in the case argued that the act should be considered animal cruelty because the rat was of a domesticated variety and the death happened in an unnatural fashion. “A person eating a live baby rat on a dare is not an accepted husbandry practice,” it was argued.

Rats have ‘no legal protections’

Harris successfully countered the prosecution’s arguments by saying that, because the rat was doomed to be eaten by a snake anyway, “it made no difference.” He also argued that “for centuries rats have been a scourge to humanity and should have no legal protections.”

Harris also pointed out that rats are often killed by exterminators in a far more painful fashion than being eaten, and yet they are not faced with criminal charges.

Judge Robert Adkins dismissed the charges in a Salt Lake City 3rd District Court last week.

Sources

Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah: http://henryslaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71:man-accused-of-eating-live-baby-rat-pleads-not-guilty
Salt Lake Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52672118-78/rat-harris-animal-ate.html.csp
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/utah-rat-eater-has-animal_n_994767.html

Post By bryanh (1,420 Posts)

Connect

Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from https://personalmoneynetwork.com to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a northern California utility, has agreed to pay $70 million to the California town of San Bruno for a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010. Company says it’s remorseful The San Francisco-based power company’s president, Chris Johns, released a statement Monday, saying PG&E is sorry and eager to […]

Judge stabbed and deputy shot in Washington courthouse

Grays Harbor County Courthouse

Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large. Treachery among the tree farms The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself […]

Microraptor was one flashy little dinosaur

Microraptor fossil

A team of Chinese and American scientists have found that Microraptor, a small four winged dinosaur that went extinct about 130 million years ago, was likely black and almost certainly had glossy, iridescent feathers. Until now, the coloring of extinct creatures was a matter of pure speculation. That may no longer be the case. The […]

Autocorrected message leads to school lockdown

Homage to the Sun

Adjacent schools in Georgia were locked down for two hours Wednesday after a text message reportedly warned of a “gunman” on campus. Later, it was learned that the message was the result of a smartphone autocorrect function, attempting to “fix” the misspelled slang word “gunna.” A series of mixups A series of mixups led to […]