Thursday, October 01, 2009
I'm not sure if you've seen the TV commercial for the Ortho Home Defense Max Kill & Contain (TM) Mouse Trap, but I've got a few issues with it.
First of all, "Max Kill"? Dead is dead. No maximum kill is necessary. Honestly, it doesn't even make sense. A minimum kill is still a kill. I'm sure there's a marketing axiom behind the name, just like there must be one behind using a nine-word product title.
I understand that rodents can bring germs into your house and leave droppings. So do your neighbor's kids. I hope you wouldn't dispose of them.
The video for this product on Ortho's web site opens with "learn. do. enjoy." Enjoy? Domestic blood lust? I don't think so.
Don't just take my word for it. Check it out for yourself: Ortho "Instructional" video.
I'm sure you'll be happy to know it's safe around pets, the cute animals in your home you don't feel like killing today.
The TV commercial is especially callous. A happy couple sets a trap, then later tosses it away in the trash, smiling and without a second thought. Come on. You just killed a little field mouse. You don't feel anything?
And that's my problem with this campaign. Preventing disease, I understand. Getting unwelcome house guests out of your home, I totally understand. But killing without remorse, and with enjoyment? It's too much for a marketing campaign, and insulting. Especially when there are kinder alternatives, where you don't have to touch the animal.
I had a roommate a few years ago who kept our kitchen's pantry stocked like a feed silo. One winter, with lots of nearby construction activity, we had a mouse.
I learned of this the first time in the bathroom, when he shot out from the corner and I shot up in the air, screaming like a 1950s housewife straight out of Looney Toons. I didn't actually grab my hem or pearls as I leaped up onto the toilet, but that's only because I was clutching air...and I'm a man. But I'm sure I hit a high C. I was startled, OK?
But I learned a lot from this experience. Mice run along the walls. And they're freaking fast. They're also cute as hell.
I decided I wasn't going to set a classic trap, the French Revolution-inspired guillotine-type that snaps - it's disgusting and cruel. Plus I'm anxious around helium balloons, afraid they may pop. Mouse traps set me into hyper-freak.
I wasn't going to use a slow-death trap with glue. And I wasn't poisoning anything. So I decided to go the live trap route. I found a site online called Havahart that specializes in live traps. I also found out they had local retailers.
I love animals, but I didn't want this guy living in my home, especially while I tried to sleep. So I went to the local hardware store and bought the smallest trap they had, the model #1025. Which I learned, after feeding the mouse for several days and not catching him, was meant for squirrels or raccoons. So I went online and ordered a smaller, more appropriate trap (model #1020 for mice), and had it shipped.
I used a ritz cracker with peanut butter and caught him the same day. I thought he might panic but he was quite calm. I read that if I just let him go outside, which I was tempted to do, he'd most likely find his way back, even from a distance. So I took Mortimer J. Mouse - yes, I named him - in his trap, and placed the trap in a shoebox, and then put him in the front seat of my car, and drove several miles to a park and ride that backed to acres of undeveloped land, not houses. And I let him go.
When I opened the trap, I thought he'd take off like a rocket. He had to be coaxed. He looked up at me, and then took off.
Yes, I thought a hawk would swoop down after my week of effort, but Mortimer was spared. At least for the night.
I didn't kill him. I solved my rodent problem. He didn't come back. And I was able to sleep again, for two reasons. No noises in the wall and no guilt for killing a cute little mouse that was simply looking for some food and some warmth.
Have a heart, Ortho.