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NYC mayor announces summit to combat rat crisis

Eric Adams said he “hates” the pests and intends to gather leading specialists to solve the city’s endemic rodent problem

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a special conference dubbed the National Urban Rat Summit, which will be held in September to address the spiraling problem with rodent pests plaguing the metropolis. 

The announcement comes one month after the city’s health authorities recorded a significant rise in cases of human leptospirosis — a disease caused by contact with the urine of animals, particularly rats.  

NYC has recorded one of the highest populations of brown rats in the US, with experts estimating that there were approximately three million of them living in the city as of August 2023.  

In a press release last week, Adams argued that “the best way to defeat our enemy is to know our enemy” and that for this purpose, the inaugural summit will gather the leading rat specialists from Boston, New Orleans, and Seattle to “better understand urban rats and how to manage their populations.” 

“New Yorkers may not know this about me – but I hate rats, and I’m confident most of our city’s residents do as well,” Adams said. “With rat sightings down nearly 14% in our city’s Rat Mitigation Zones year over year, we continue to make progress, but we’re not stopping there.” 

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Kathleen Corradi, NYC’s first ever director of rodent mitigations, or “rat czar,” added that the city is “proud” to host the event and obtain a deeper understanding of how to battle the issue. She noted that “despite being our closest urban counterparts, there is surprisingly limited research on urban rats and their management.” 

Last month, the New York City Council also introduced a bill that would require the Health Department to use salty pellets to sterilize both male and female rats in two neighborhoods as part of a pilot program.  

Meanwhile, animal rights activists at PETA have accused Mayor Adams of “villainizing rats” and urged him to “show kindness and respect for all New Yorkers.”  

The group stated that it would be sending the mayor an ‘empathy kit’ that would feature a ‘rats have rights’ mug and a “step-by-step guide to cultivating compassion.”


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