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NY Post
New York Post
8 Apr 2023


NextImg:Rat-loving Parisians claim vermin are good for city

Vive les rats! 

A growing faction of Parisians are making the head-scratching claim that disease-carrying rats are good for their city and should be able to peacefully coexist alongside humans.

As trash piled high in the City of Light during the nationwide garbage collectors strike, members of the animal rights organization Paris Animaux Zoopolis showcased their fraternity last month with the sewer dwellers.

Gathering at Place Saint-Sulpice, the demonstrators held out signage with pro-rat mantras, including a banner reading,“Rats are not our enemies” and an image of a rodent holding a sign that said “Free Kisses.”

“It’s nothing short of absurd,” rat scholar Michael H. Parsons told The Post, after French outlet, Le Figaro published an article about the city’s rat defenders.

“I actually thought it was an April Fool’s joke.”

Yet in the French capital, many residents have begun to see rats in a more positive light, despite their ignominious history of spreading the bacteria responsible for the Black Death, which wiped out as much as 60% of Europe’s population during the mid-1300s.

Rats helped wipe out as much as 60% of Europe’s population by spreading bacteria responsible for the Black Death.
ZUMAPRESS.com
Rat in Paris surrounded by garbage.
Paris council member Douchka Markovic argues that the pests are actually vital in addressing the city’s waste issues.
AFP via Getty Images

According to a 2020 study by the French Institute of Public Opinion, a whopping 61% of Parisians prefer non-lethal methods such as contraception to control the French capital’s rat population, which outnumbers human residents by at least 1.5 to 1.

Younger residents in particular hold more friendly attitudes toward the despised rodents, according to Amandine Sanvisens, co-founder of Paris Animaux Zoopolis.

The shift likely comes from fans of the 2007 Disney animated film “Ratatouille,” where a French rat named Remy befriends a human chef and demonstrates culinary prowess, Sanvisens claimed to Le Figaro.

“They want to live their life, and we live ours,” she said.

“We should learn to cohabit with them without a declaration of war.”

Fliers saying "Rats are saying not our enemies."
Demonstrators showed their fraternity for rats during the nationwide garbage collector strike.
ZUMAPRESS.com

Even lawmakers are going to the mat for the rats, with Paris council member Douchka Markovic arguing that the pests are actually vital in addressing the city’s waste issues.

“They are assets rather than problems for effectively maintaining the hygiene of large cities,” Markovic, co-president of a French political party focused on animal welfare, said at a July council meeting.

“We need to change the paradigm. We should ask ourselves about the brown rats and their way of living, in order to find effective and ethical methods.”

Paris’ love affair with rats is so extreme, hundreds have joined a Facebook group dedicated to those who have “saved” the rodents from the streets after being abandoned as pets or escaping from labs.  

Trash has lined the streets in Paris during the nationwide garbage collector strike.
Paris council member Douchka Markovic has argued that rats are actually vital to the city and help address waste.
ZUMAPRESS.com

“Tell us how you saved your rats: found on a sidewalk, in the country,” the group’s page reads in French. “There are millions of “fake reasons” to abandon them and you are their saviors so bravo to you.”

“Let us unite to offer them a beautiful second life.”

Across the pond in New York City, rats have yet to make a fan out of Mayor Eric Adams, who has been unwavering in his war against the rodents’ swelling numbers in the Big Apple.

“I hate rats as you know, I’m scared of them and when I see one I think about it all day,” Adams has said.

“So, I am fixated on killing rats.”

Additional reporting by Dana Kennedy