Lazy eyes listen
According to a city official, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo proposes to organize a commission to investigate if inhabitants in the French capital should learn to live beside rats in peaceful coexistence rather than attempting to kill the vermin.
“With the mayor’s guidance, we have decided to form a committee on the issue of cohabitation,” Anne Souyris, Paris’ deputy mayor for public health, said during a Council of Paris meeting on Thursday.
The newly announced program is a considerable shift from prior efforts taken in Paris to combat the city’s estimated six million rats. The capital’s 2017 anti-rat plan directed $1.8 million on a variety of anti-rodent strategies, including the installation of airtight trash cans and the widespread use of rat poison at thousands of locations throughout the city.
The rat problem is reported to have been aggravated by recent pension-reform protests in Paris, which left rubbish on city streets uncollected for weeks.
With the rat population in Paris still outnumbering the human population by a factor of three, new measures are being considered, with Souyris stating that the committee will establish “the most efficient” way for Parisians and rats to coexist that is “not unbearable” for city dwellers.
Critics, on the other hand, argue that the approach amounts to simply throwing in the towel on the rodent problem. “Anne Hidalgo’s team never disappoints,” politician Geoffroy Boulard tweeted, referring to the city’s “rat proliferation.” He went on to say that “Paris deserves better.”
Some animal rights organizations are more open to new initiatives. Previous methods of control were “ineffective and cruel,” according to Paris Animal Zoopolis. “New methods [are] essential.”
Paris has had a tumultuous relationship with vermin for a long time. The spread of the bubonic plague, which killed half of the city’s inhabitants in the 14th century, was largely due to rats. However, the animals also assisted civilians in avoiding starvation during the Franco-Prussian war’s Siege of Paris in 1870-71.
Paris is not alone in attempting to develop novel solutions to age-old problems such as rat infestations. In April, New York named its own ‘rat czar’ to cope with its own rodent problems, while the French city of Toulouse used ferrets to assist control the rat population.