Art - Very good point! I hadn't thought of that!!
As for the legality... why does it make a difference whether it's a kitten or a rat? Both are commonly kept as pets, and both are food for other animals in the wild.
I really don't see what people are creating a stink about... if the "mammal keepers" kept their cats under control we "snake-keepers" wouldn't even be considering this. I know it looks bad for the herp community (even though it really shouldn't) so I'll shut up now... =)