A disturbing video that is going viral on TikTok shows an Australian farmer pouring live mice out of a grain conveyor and into a flaming oil drum, as parts of the country are ravaged by a biblical mouse plague.
The rampant infestation has devastated farms across rural New South Wales over the past few months, as throngs of mice swarm through towns and inflict millions of dollars worth of damage to farming equipment, property and crops. The plague, which the state government has described as “completely unprecedented,” is so bad that reports have emerged of rodents eating each other, polluting water tanks and turning up inside the stomachs of freshwater fish.
One family suggested it was mice chewing through electrical wires that caused their house to burn down, and last month the state’s agricultural minister claimed that “if we don’t significantly reduce the number of mice that are in plague proportions by spring, we are facing an absolute economic and social crisis in rural and regional New South Wales.”
Farmers have retaliated with force, waging war on the scampering insurgents with all manner of deterrents and death traps. Some have filled buckets with water to drown the animals. Others have deployed the banned, napalm-like poison Bromadiolone, which has already inflicted collateral damage on other animal species by wiping out dozens of native birds. And now footage has surfaced on TikTok of a farmer using a grain conveyor to pour showers of live mice into a fire.
The video, which VICE World News has chosen not to include in this article, shows a flaming barrel positioned beneath the grain conveyor, which is designed to funnel harvested grain up through a hose pipe before pouring it into a truck or storage bin. Within seconds, sprays of mice can be seen falling out of the end of the conveyor and into the flames. Some appear to escape the flames, scuttling away from the drum. Most do not.
At the time of writing the video has racked up more than six million views on TikTok, and more than 11,800 comments. Most of those surprisingly express approval and even praise for the farmer’s ruthless methods.
“Up the farmers,” wrote one user. “Why don’t you make it bigger,” wrote another. Many joked that too many mice were escaping unscathed. One commenter observed that it “seems cruel but the huge mice population is absolutely warfare. They’re destroying all the farmer’s crops and houses. Anything to stop them.”
Other comments are predictably critical – “I don’t like mice but that’s messed up,” wrote one viewer, to which the person who uploaded the video replied “Your [sic] messed up.”
“So baiting them is humane?” the uploaded added. “They die slowly over time… drowning is that humane??? Give me a humane way to kill them and I’ll do it…”
NSW Farmers, the state’s top agricultural association, predicts that the mouse plague will wipe more than 1 billion AUD ($775 million USD) from the value of the state’s winter wheat, barley and canola crops. It follows a spate of disasters for the state, including historic drought, fires and floods, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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