Fancy rats are incredibly social, and they will approach humans. Pet rats are loyal to their owners, and have thus become known as "the dog of the rodent world." They can learn many tricks and behaviours, and they will give kisses to their owners, and seek them out. They make fantastic pets for children and adults alike, as they do not run away like most other rodents, but approach humans. They are incredibly curious.
The Alberta government has not bothered to update an uneducated law from the 1950s. According to this law, ALL rats are considered as pest, and thus banned from the province. They consider pet rats (also known as fancy rats) the same as wild rats.
Rats are one of the most misunderstood animals. Fancy rats, in fact, are nothing like wild rats. A pet rat is unlikely to survive in the wild. This is due to decades of breeding domesticated rats, like pet cats or dogs. A pet rat would not survive in the wild more likely than your cat or dog. They have been bred to be domesticated, which means they have been bred to be pets and taken care of.
Neighbouring provinces such as British Columbia and Saskatchewan allow pet rats, and so do in fact ALL other Canadian provinces and territories. There is no incident of sudden death because of pet rats. There is no imminent danger. No one has reported rat problems caused by pet rats. Wild rats can be a problem, but it is usually for one reason: cities have garbage problems. Rats are found in landfills, because as a nation, we don't deal with garbage properly. And we all know that there are many people who throw away food - this is a 21st century 1st world problem and has much more to do with our society than with rats, let alone pet rats.
Contrary to popular belief, rats did not cause the plague. The carriers were humans. You can read up on it on The Guardian's website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/17/black-death-rats-off-hook. The Middle Ages were an incredibly unsanitary era, with people living very crowded in close quarters. It is more likely that the plague was spread by humans and fleas. To date, there are many other diseases that are carried by many other animals, including anything from ticks, worms, mosquitos, to raccoons, chipmunks, and cats. Just to put things into perspective, cats can spread to humans (1) fungal infections such as ringworm, (2) bacterial infections such as salmonella and Q-fever, and (3) a virus that can cause neurological symptoms in humans. If spreading diseases is a reason for the Alberta government to ban pet rats, then frankly ALL pets should be banned, because they can all cause diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
HELP ME LEGALIZE PET RATS IN ALBERTA by signing this petition. There is no good reason not to have pet rats, but there are many good reasons to have them.
For more info on the difference between wild rats and pet rats, please see this link from the RatHelp forum: http://www.rathelp.org/WildVsDomesticated.html. For more information about why rats make great pets, please visit this link: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=1018&S=5.
For questions or comments, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LegalizePetRatsInAlberta