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    5. Paris mayor urges residents to 'cohabitate' with rats


    Paris mayor urges residents to 'cohabitate' with rats

    A Parisian city worker displays a dead rat in the park of the Saint-Jacques tower. Photo: François Maury/AP

    After several years of trying to eradicate the rat population in the city, the leader of the Parisian socialists changed course, telling residents that it was time to live together with rodents.

    Anne Hidalgo's administration announced the creation of a special committee tasked with studying how two million city dwellers and six million rats can coexist in harmony.

    “Under the Mayor's leadership, we have decided to set up a committee to look into the issue of cohabitation,” said Anne Souiris, deputy mayor of the city for public health, during a meeting of the Council of Paris.

    According to Ms. Souiris, a member of the Party environmentalists in France, the committee will be tasked with finding a solution that will be “as effective as possible” and also “not unbearable” for the Parisians.

    The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has announced the creation of a special committee to combat urban rats. Photo: SARAH MEYSSONNIER/REUTERS. £1.2m) plan to curb the city's rats.

    Critics of the new approach accused Ms Hidalgo's administration of not taking the problem seriously.

    “Anne Hidalgo's team never disappointing,” said Geoffroy Boulard, mayor of the city's 17th arrondissement. “Paris deserves better.”

    Mr Boulard has long been a vocal critic of the “rat spread” in the city and what he calls a lack of funding to address the problem, comparing the previous €1.5 million plan to a $32 million New York rat fund.

    < img src="/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/a2acbdedfbea922438fdde85b39924b5.jpg" /> Members of the Paris Animaux Zoopolis association during a rat rally. Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP

    However, animal rights groups have welcomed the announcement, which they say is the result of more than two years of lobbying by the city.

    Amandine Sunvicens, co-founder of the activist group Paris Animaux Zoopolis, said it would be “cruel” and “inefficient” to spend millions of euros fighting city rats.

    She mentioned the use of anticoagulants, one of the most rat extermination methods common in the city – which cause internal bleeding and a slow and painful death.

    square of the Saint-Jacques tower next to the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP

    “Also, rats become more resistant [to anticoagulants] over time, so it doesn't work,” she said.

    Some of the “cohabitation methods suggested by Mr. Joy Sunvicense includes investing in 100 sealed trash bins around the city to restrict rats' access to food, and using a rat oral contraceptive called ContraPest. Already used in the US, the drug reduces fertility.

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