New York mayor Eric Adams announces first ‘urban rat summit’

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New York Mayor Eric Adams has declared war on the city’s rats and is holding a summit of experts to work out ways to eradicate the much-maligned rodents.

Mr Adams, who appointed the city’s first “rat czar” has announced that the first "National Urban Rats Summit," is set to be held in New York City in September.

The summit is meant to bring experts on rats — "from researchers at academic institutions to municipal pest control managers" — to share "best practices" and discuss "rodent mitigation, and advance the science of urban rat management".

Experts from across the nation are reportedly attending the summit in the city.

“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,” Mr Adams said in the news release.

Rats swarm around a bag of garbage near a dumpster in New York City (stock image) (AP2000)
Rats swarm around a bag of garbage near a dumpster in New York City (stock image) (AP2000)

He celebrated that rat sightings were down by 14 per cent in the city's "Rat Mitigation Zones," but assured Gothamites that his crusade against rodents would not stop there.

"The best way to defeat our enemy is to know our enemy. That’s why we’re holding this inaugural summit, to bring experts and leaders from across the country together to better understand urban rats and how to manage their populations," he said.

The city's Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said the city has made strides in reducing the rat population through the "Herculean task of getting all 44 million daily pounds of rat-attracting trash off the streets".

New York City currently produces 14 billion tons of trash each year, according to Ms Tisch. The city has passed container laws for businesses requiring them to ensure all of the trash they produce ends up in bins and not out on the streets in trash bags. A similar law will go into effect this fall requiring the same for low-density residential buildings with one to nine units.

The Department of Sanitation said if the laws are followed, approximately 70 per cent of the city's trash will be containerised and kept mostly out of the reach of rodents.

Last year, Mr Adams named Kathleen Corradi, a former school teacher, to serve as the city's first-ever "rat czar." Her job is solely focused on curbing the city's rat population.

In addition to trash removal, the city has also started using contraceptives to help curb rat populations.

New York Mayor Eric Adams, left, introduces Kathleen Corradi, center, as the city's first-ever citywide director of rodent mitigation, also known as the
New York Mayor Eric Adams, left, introduces Kathleen Corradi, center, as the city's first-ever citywide director of rodent mitigation, also known as the "rat czar," in New York (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Jakob Shaw, the special projects manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was dismayed at the crusading rhetoric Mr Adams uses when talking about rats.

“That doesn’t help anyone or anything," he told Gothamist. “We really need to respect these animals and work with intention and kindness to address this issue. It doesn’t take a rat summit to come to the conclusion that the millions of pounds of trash left on New York streets all day is providing a constant food source for these animals.”

PETA launched a "pro-rat" campaign last month and sent promotional materials for it to New York City newsrooms.

They aren't the only ones trying to give the rats a break; lawmakers in the city recently introduced a bill that would ban the use of brutal glue traps to stop rats.