Ask Haunted House to Stop Using Live Rats

Target: Scott Larson, President of Scandia Sports

Goal: Ask Scandia to stop using live rats in its seasonal haunted house

Scandia, an amusement park in Ontario, California, uses rats as one of the scare tactics in its haunted house. Tell Scandia that live animals should not be used as props and ask them to discontinue the use of live rats in the attraction.

“The Wussmaker” is an annual haunted house attraction at Scandia Family Fun Center. According to reports collected by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the haunted house “keeps some rats caged beneath fog machines, while others are carried by employees who shove them into the faces of screaming patrons.” Incredibly intelligent animals, rats are sensitive to stressful situations–like, for example, being screamed at in a dark, chaotic environment–and knowingly subjecting them to conditions like this is unnecessarily cruel and inhumane. PETA also points out that rats are “extremely sensitive to noise, vibrations, and lighting,” arguing that the overwhelming stimuli of a haunted house constitutes “pure torture” for animals “without means of escape or defense.” The organization has reportedly already reached out to Scandia but has received no response.

You can help. Sign the petition and tell Scandia that using rats as live props is unnecessary and inhumane, and ask the company to cease using them in its seasonal haunted house.


Dear Mr. Larson,

The objective of any good haunted house is to be terrifying. But the haunted house at Scandia Family Fun Center in Ontario, California, in addition to scaring its human patrons, is proving terrifying for another group: the live rats used as props there. I urge you to immediately discontinue the inhumane use of live rats as props in Scandia’s haunted house.

Rats are highly intelligent animals, and the multiple stimuli of a haunted house environment can easily prove panic-inducing and overwhelming for them, much as it can for humans. Unlike people who expect–and even pay–to be scared, however, the rats have no idea what is happening, if they are safe, or where all the noises and lights surrounding them are coming from. Also unlike human patrons, they have no means or escape or defense.

From a strictly sensory standpoint, rats are “extremely sensitive to noise, vibrations, and lighting,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reports. The chaotic atmosphere that necessarily accompanies haunted houses can therefore prove physically as well as mentally distressing for these animals.

In the grand scheme of things, rats may not seem like a terribly important concern, but they are living creatures capable of experiencing both fear and affection–just ask people who keep rats as pets. There is no difference between these animals we cherish and the animals that Scandia has relegated to a hellish existence as nothing more than live props. I urge you to do the right thing and immediately discontinue the use of live rats in Scandia’s haunted house.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: artmonstergirl via Flickr

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