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March 11, 2014 | by  | in News |
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A Rat in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bar

Victoria students will be able to swap dead rats for beer, in a promotion funded by high-profile philanthropist Gareth Morgan.

To take part in the promotion, named ‘Beer Trap’, students will hand dead rats into the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria, and get a $7 Hunter Lounge voucher in exchange. This can be used for any of the drinks available at The Hunter Lounge.

The promotion will run for six weeks. It is being run by the VUW Science Society in partnership with The Hunter Lounge and Enhancing the Halo, a project of the Morgan Foundation.

The promotion will be launched at 6.30 pm this Thursday at The Hunter Lounge. 50 traps will be handed out to keen students at the launch, with another 50 being handed out later. Gareth Morgan will speak at the launch, along with representatives from the Science Society and The Hunter Lounge.

The dead rats will be frozen and used by postgraduate students in a research project on the population dynamics and feeding habits of urban rats.

Jonathan Musther, president of the Science Society, said that there had been an “awful lot of interest” in the project, and it would be interesting to see whether that translated into students trapping rats.

Students spoken to by Salient were divided on the issue. Some were willing to be involved, but thought it would be “inconvenient to bring a dead rat to uni.” Many were unaware of the promotion, and some thought it would mean dead rats being brought into The Hunter Lounge.

Member of the Victoria University group VegVUW Maddie Judge said that rats were a “convenient scapegoat” for environmental destruction.

“I would argue that a lot of hostility towards ‘pests’ implicitly serves to assuage the guilt we feel about how much we have impacted the environment… Instead of trying to get the general public to kill animals for dissection, perhaps they could think about moving towards computer simulations,” Judge said.

Musther said it was a “tough ethical issue”, but “most of the population have accepted that in order to protect native wildlife.”

“If it goes well, we will hopefully run it again in the second trimester,” Musther said.

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