1 November 2007

To: Media
From: Karen Chisholm 020 7357 9229, ext 229; [email protected] 

Today, in light of news reports that rat sales at pet stores have skyrocketed since the UK release of Disney’s film Ratatouille, PETA sent an urgent letter to Claire Lusher in corporate communications at the Walt Disney Company’s head office in London asking the company to urge people not to buy rats on impulse.

Parents of children who are smitten by Remy, Disney’s animated rat, are racing to buy real rats for their kids. But PETA points out that all too often, rats who are purchased on impulse by well-meaning but unprepared people are doomed to live lonely, boring lives in cages. When parents find out that caring for these intelligent and sensitive animals is more work than they expected, rats are often neglected, abandoned at extremely crowded animal shelters or turned loose to “fend for themselves” outdoors – where they stand no chance of surviving against predators, temperature extremes and starvation.

PETA is urging Disney to prevent this suffering by placing a disclaimer on the Ratatouille website and on the UK DVD urging people never to buy a rat and to only adopt rats from shelters if they are prepared to provide for all of the animal’s physical and psychological needs for the rest of his or her life.

“The decision to add a rat to the family should be taken just as seriously as the decision to adopt a dog or cat, and it should be based on a genuine desire to care for a rat – not a fondness for a character in a film”, says PETA’s Yvonne Taylor. “Like Remy, all rats deserve to have interesting, fulfilling lives, and rats won’t have that when they are stuck in cages in someone’s basement.”

PETA’s letter to Disney follows.