Leaders of Paris: We must coexist with rats

Leaders of Paris: We must coexist with rats

"Rats are the most dangerous living creatures in the immediate environment of men," according to a statement by the French Academy of Medical Sciences. In it, the scientists highlight the dangers of rats in the French capital. Authorities in Paris have been fighting a windmill battle against rats and pests for years, but to no avail. Recently, the mayor has announced a shift in the capital's strategy that would focus on paving the way of a peaceful coexistence.

POLITICS JUNE 12. 2023 19:06

The French capital has been battling its rats for years. The rodents are everywhere, chewing food on countertops and crawling into the clothes of metro passengers. Paris and Marseilles, the two largest French cities, are among the world’s ten most rat-infested, according to a list published earlier this year. As for the capital, the situation is deteriorating by the year and the rat infestation has become such a massive problem that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo included the eradication of rodents in her 2020 campaign. One important step was to place sealed metal bins on the streets so that pests cannot pick up any discarded food. According to the French RMC channel, the city council has installed 3,200 such bins at a cost of more than €3 million.

However, the costly investment has proved insufficient to curb further rat infestations in the French capital. And the mayor of Paris appears to have given up the fight after years of pest control, with the city government announcing a different approach to try to achieve a more peaceful coexistence with rodents.

“With guidance from the mayor, we have decided to form a committee on the question of cohabitation,” announced Anne Souyris, the city’s deputy mayor for public health, during Thursday’s meeting of the Council of Paris. She added that the group would be tasked with finding the method of dealing with the rats that proved to be both “effective” and “not unbearable” for Parisians.

The announcement by Souyris was met with heckles from politicians like Geoffroy Boulard, mayor of the city’s 17th district, who has repeatedly expressed concerns on Twitter over what he described as Ms Hidalgo’s latest farcical move, as well as the “proliferation of rats” in Paris.

Paris has always had an intense relationship with its rat population. The rodents were responsible for the proliferation of the bubonic plague that wiped out nearly half the city’s population in the 14th century. Although the city’s six-million strong rat community has remained relatively stable in recent years, trash strikes this spring prompted fears that the rodents might become emboldened and claim greater dominance over the French capital.

As our news agency has highlighted in an earlier article, the French Academy of Medical Sciences had issued a statement in which scientists drew attention to the threat posed by the presence of rats in the French capital. Several rodents have been caught on camera recently. In one shot taken in July, a rat can be seen comfortably snacking on a slice of pizza placed in the counter of a bistro.

People are no longer safe either on public transport, or in the street. A CNews correspondent was interviewing a woman on a completely different subject, when she said she felt something in her clothes and then, when she took off her jacket, a rat jumped out of the sleeve and into her bag.

According to CNews, the woman has just come up from a metro station when the reporter stopped her, but the appearance of the rat quickly ended the conversation. The reporter initially thought the animal in the bag was a mouse. After being released from the bag, the rodent scurried away.

But it’s not just Paris that suffers from pests. Earlier this year, New York allocated $3.5 million to normalise the crisis in some parts of the city. But experts say that rising temperatures linked to climate change are likely to make cities even more attractive to pests like rats in the coming years, as they promote conditions for rodents to breed year-round.



chaos, france, rats