Amid increasing rodent issue, Paris debates 'Can humans and rats live together?'

Amid increasing rodent issue, Paris debates 'Can humans and rats live together?'

The city government was called upon by Boulard to outline a more ambitious plan against the increasing number of rats in public spaces.

France's national capital Paris, which has been battling the notorious rodent problem, is now finding the answer to a unique question - “Can humans and rats live together?”

A committee has been formed by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to study “cohabitation” and understand to what extent can rodents and humans live together, said one of her deputies during a city council meeting on Thursday.

The city's deputy mayor Anne Souyris, who is in charge of public health, announced the step has been taken in response to questions raised by Geoffroy Boulard, the head of Paris’ 17th arrondissement and also the centre-right Republican party's member.

The city government was called upon by Boulard to outline a more ambitious plan against the increasing number of rats in public spaces.

Sufficient measure to eliminate rats not taken: Hidalgo

Previously, Boulard had criticised Hidalgo, a member of the centre-left socialist party, for not taking sufficient measures to eliminate rats from Paris, especially during strikes which were held earlier this year and saw garbage pile up throughout the city.

“The presence of rats on the surface is harmful to the quality of life of Parisians,” said Boulard.

Boulard said that he decided to raise the question after he came across an ongoing study, Project Armageddon. The mission of the project is to help the city in managing it's escalating population of rats. Its aim also includes fighting prejudices against rats to help citizens live a better life in Paris.

The government of France is financing the study and the city of Paris is a partner in the project.

Souyris stated that they are studying to understand the extent to which humans and rats can live together in a way that is “the most efficient and at the same time ensure that it’s not unbearable for Parisians.”

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Although rats carry the risk of spreading disease, the deputy mayor stated that the rats they are discussing are not similar to black rats that can carry the plague, but other kinds of rats that carry diseases like leptospirosis.

The move of the city was welcomed by the Animal rights group Paris Animaux Zoopolis.

“Rats are present in Paris, as in all major French cities, so the question of cohabitation necessarily arises,” a statement from the group stated.

The statement further read, “At PAZ, when we talk about “peaceful cohabitation” with rats, we don’t mean living with them in our houses and apartments but making sure that these animals don’t suffer AND that we’re not disturbed. Again, a very reasonable objective!”

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