An Australian farmer sparked controversy on TikTok after sharing his method of combating the so-called mouse plague, which has ravaged rural parts of the country for months.
As reported by outlets around the world, the mouse plague has reached almost biblical proportions in the past six months. The negative effects of the rodent boom – which experts attribute at least in part to increased rainfall – are far-reaching and include crop failures, poisoned native wildlife and even severe house fires.
In the now viral TikTok post, user @ andyj3825 – known only as Andrew – reveals the extreme measures he has taken to rid his farm of rodents. The clip shows hundreds of vermin falling from a large agricultural implement before ending up in a fiery flame.
Specifically, News.com.au wrote, “Mice infest his snail, a corkscrew-like farming machine.” He then dropped the mice off a “grain conveyor” and into a “44-gallon drum” that had been set alight. The mice are apparently alive when they fall into the flames: those that miss the fire are seen scurrying away from the flame.
The video posted four days ago immediately gained in importance in the app and has already had 6.2 million views. Countless commentators debate the ethics of his methods, many arguing that the drastic measures are necessary, while others describe the video as “cruel” and “heartless”.
“It’s brutal, but I’m on the farmer’s side here,” said a comment in support of TikToker.
“Sounds cruel, but the huge mouse population is absolute warfare. They’re destroying all of the … crops and houses. Anything to stop them, ”repeated another.
Others, however, believed that a more humane solution would have been enough. “The lack of empathy people have today is worrying,” wrote one commentator.
“I think there are several methods of removal,” said another. “Doing this is a demonstration of cruelty to animals.”
In the wake of the Australian mouse plague, a farmer recently shared his controversial methods of killing vermin on TikTok.
@ andyj3825 / TikTok
In two follow-up videos posted in the days since the original TikTok for burning mice went viral, Andrew highlighted his continued attempts to get the mouse population under control – but this time without fire.
The first clip shows the mice falling from the grain conveyor, but instead of ending up in the fire, they just land on the ground. These rodents then scurry away in all directions.
Similarly, his latest TikTok shows the mice falling into a barrel. It’s unclear whether the online backlash to the first video influenced Andrew’s decision to film the follow-up actions without the use of fire.
The New South Wales government recently announced a plan to help those affected by mouse plague, which means Andrew may not have to resort to his DIY measures in the future. According to the NSW government website, farmers will have access to a treatment that turns crops into mouse bait via the rodenticide bromadiolone to use around their crops.