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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

new york city dogs hunt for rats

New York’s Dogs Hunt for Dangerous Game: City Rats

Before the advent of broadcast sports or animal rights legislation, a night at the pub used to mean one thing: watching small terriers snap the spines of dozens, if not hundreds, of rats. Sporting men placed bets on how many rats a dog could kill in a set period of time. Nowadays, dog breeds bred to hunt rats, rabbits, badgers don’t get much of a chance to exercise their killer instincts. The Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society (RATS) in New York, however, have figured out how to harness their dog’s inborn talents in order to make a (small) dent in the city’s rodent problem.

The group, which has been around for 15 years, travels to prime hunting ground – garbage-filled alleys – with their dogs in tow. The dogs learn after only a few hunting trips how to kill on their own. In contrast to the typical stereotype of the overly-precious urban pet owner, the group members seem eminently practical: “Mr. Reynolds said there had been a few lacerations to the dogs from rat bites and other mishaps, but nothing serious. Still, he said, he carries “a traveling field hospital” in his truck, just in case, and a staple gun in his pocket, to mend wounds.”

For anyone who thinks rat-hunting is gross, most of the games that we play with our dogs, from fetch to tug-of-war, emulate chasing down and disemboweling prey. RATS merely makes the connection between play and hunting explicit. As for the unfortunate rats, a swift death at the jaws of a pedigree dog may be preferable to a lingering one from poison or traps.

Read more over at the New York Times.

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