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"Prey for Wildlife, Casualties of the Chemical War on Rats"

Rodenticides are widely used to control rodent pest problems, however, they also pose a threat to wildlife that would help keep rodent populations in check.

  • Deborah Vatcher
  • Deborah Vatcher
  • Laura Kiesel
    Key Cast
  • Stephanie Ellis
    Key Cast
  • Robert L. Massucco, J., DVM
    Key Cast
  • Maureen Murray, DVM
    Key Cast
  • Jim Hawkins
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 18, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Deborah Vatcher

Deborah Vatcher made her first film at the age of 12, while enrolled in a summer arts program in the public schools of Rochester, NY. With ready access to Kodak super 8 cameras and film, she created a series of short films, enlisting her younger sisters as actors, and her parents as drivers. Now retired from her medical practice, she completed a filmmaking course at the Harvard Extension School at Harvard University in the fall of 2021, and courses in documentary production at Emerson College in Boston. She continues to study the art of filmmaking, editing, and design through a variety of courses and programs available online.

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Director Statement

On the evening of March 2, 2023, roughly three hundred people gathered in Arlington, Massachusetts for a vigil. They assembled to mourn the loss of the beloved bald eagle of the Mystic Lakes known as MK, who died after eating prey tainted with rat poison.

They walked to Arlington City Hall, to demand action, and a ban on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, or SGARs--the rat poison that killed MK. Rats and mice who eat SGAR bait become sick and sluggish as clotting factors in their blood are depleted and they begin to suffer a slow death from internal bleeding. In this weakened state they become easy targets for predators, such as eagles and hawks, and any other animal up the food chain that feeds on rodents. And as these tainted rats sicken and kill their natural predators, the balance of predator and prey in the environment tips in favor of rats.

How does rodent control using SGARs intersect with the lives of ordinary citizens, property owners, animal advocates, lawmakers, scientists, veterinarians, and the pest management industry? Several people close to this issue were interviewed for the film to help increase public awareness and engagement.