Recently this has come up and trying to be polite I didn't want to take over someone else's thread to discuss it. Funny thing is I never thought this would come up on a forum of mice\rat lovers but hey stranger things have happened!
First off let me say I am not in ANY way against snakes or anyone who owns them! I have infact owned snakes and would again if the oppurtunity arrose.
I am however against live feeding. Most people who live feed are under the assumption that it is better for their snake but that simply is not true. Live feeding, aside from being cruel to the mouse\rat\rabbit\ect, can be very hazardous to your snake. Many times I have seen snakes injured or killed due to live feeding attempts. Rodents have teeth and claws, and they WILL fight for their life, wouldn't you? One of the snakes I rescued was a one eyed burmese python named Jasmine. She had one eye because the other was ripped out by a rat. The owner gave her up because he didn't think he could ever switch her to frozen\thawed food and he assumed she would starve to death. This however is another myth. Snakes can and will switch to f\t. Bottom line is when they are hungry, they will eat. The f\t rodents can (well, must) be heated in warm water you can then use a pair of tongs to wiggle it around and thus simulate live prey. Believe it or not the snakes are easily enough fooled! LOL
Other benefits to your herp include the fact that freezing kills any bacteria, germs, viruses, ect. that the rodent may have had prior to death, which can be transmitted to your herp. Also, if your herp does not consume the prey within a certain amount of time you can always refreeze for later, and you can even stock up, and not worry about housing and or feeding the prey.
There is also some concern with the red dye factor. Alot of irresponsible breeders\pet stores use cheap dog food as the main source of feed for their feeder rodents. Cheap dog food contains large quanities of red dye to make it look "meatier" this red dye can be absorbed and stored in the rodents organs. Obviously this is bad for the poor rodents but seeing as their days are numbered, it is even worse for your herp. Large quanities of red dye can be toxic even fatal to most snakes\herps.
Well I think I have pretty much covered that, now onto the cruelty factor. Obviously live feeding is cruel to the intended prey. Their lives are basically pitiful from the star. Not properly cared for, housed fed, overbred. Then what do they get? They get an extremely stressful last few minutes with a snake, if they don't have a heart attack first they get the life squeezed out of them, or if they are really lucky they are still partially alive when the feeding begins. Anyone who does not think this cruel really should not be owning rodents as pets.
F\T rodents are lab raised, usually free of parasites, fed well, cared for and generally kept comfortable until which time they are painlessly euthenized with co2 gas. (Which BTW has fully dissipated from their bodies before making it to your freezer, so don't panic just yet)
Please spare me the "But in the wild they...." bottom line this is NOT the wild! Your snake is not out hunting mice that have probably atleast lived a somewhat fullfilling life until..dun dun dun.. they are snatched up and eaten for dinner!
Ok last but certainly not least what I feel is the worst of the worst. Breeding your own mice\rats to feed your herp. That in my book is completely irresponsible. I will not rehash my views on breeding ethics (your welcome) however this is just completely unnesascary. There are already hundreds of thousands of rodents not properly cared for, sick and dying in feeder bins all over the world, why create more? Of course I have heard the argument that it is simply cheaper but when you figure in the cost of housing and feeding these doomed critters, how much are you really saving? Not to mention, how you could own an animal long enough to get it pregnant, gestate, and give birth. Then watch those adorable little babies grow and thrive only to end up in a snakes belly, is completely beyond me!
Well I'm tired now and I think I have said all I can possibly think to say. I hope you have made it this far with me, and I hope I have gotten my point across wihtout being rude or abrasive. I hope I have helped to educate some people, and if I have changed even one mind to atleast entertain the possibility of feeding f\t prey, then my goal is accomplished.
Oh and for those of you who may be interested here is a link to mice on ice. This is where I always got my f\t prey (well since the internet anyway!)
Last but not least....Thank You for reading!