Ottawa divided on new employment issue

Illustration: Marta Kierkus

A recently surfaced video showing a rat dragging a piece of pizza down a set of stairs on a New York City subway platform has ignited a new debate in the animal rights movement. Activists are demanding for the right to work to apply to rats too, and now this debate has reached Ottawa.

Local pizza lover Fred O’Malley says Panucci’s Pizzeria in Ottawa has been the first to open up hiring to rodents. O’Malley was purchasing a pizza when he was told by the owner, Vincent Panucci, that he had actually hired a rat as his new delivery boy.

“I’d never heard anything like it my whole life,” said O’Malley. “I came into the pizzeria and there were multiple rats scurrying around on the floor. I asked Panucci about them, and he told me they were all waiting for interviews.”

“I just wanted to give the rats a shot, you know?” said Panucci. “That video of a rat doing the best it could to provide for its family really moved me. Plus, it looked like the rat was having an easy time carrying a slice, so it seemed like a great opportunity to knock down an employment barrier.”

Panucci’s Pizza has been shut down for a thorough investigation, but media attention about the story has garnered massive support for the new initiative.

“This city’s treatment of the rat minority has been absolutely disgraceful, and has been swept under the rug,” said Jane Smith, a first-year history student at the U of O.

“Unemployment in the rat community is at a startling 96 per cent! Most businesses will flat-out refuse to hire you if they find out you are a rodent. It’s about time someone started an equal opportunity employment initiative.”

One of Panucci’s delivery rats, Mr. Whiskers, is currently being detained by the City for illegal employment after being unable to procure his documents. An attempt by the Tomato to interview him went nowhere as he refused to comment, instead opting to chew through the cables of the microphone placed in front of him.

The City is now being sued by the Canadian branch of Dignity for Rodents which has decided to spearhead the new rat equality movement.

“This is the latest infraction of civil liberties that needs to be stopped,” said spokesman Sean Baker. “For far too long we have ignored the pleas of the rodent community in their struggle for equality. This backwards country has to join the rest of the world.”

There has been some push back against this new initiative. Fourth-year economics student George Fendelman voiced his concerns to the Tomato. “Personally I feel weird having my pizza delivered by a rat. I want to order an extra large covered in toppings, how’s a rat going to get that to me? I don’t trust them not to eat it on the way to my apartment.”

The pending court case, scheduled to begin Nov. 12, will decide once and for all whether or not rats are able to work in the food industry.