Animal rights activists blast borough president for ‘inhumane’ rat display

Animal rights activists blast borough president for ‘inhumane’ rat display
Photo by Colin Mixson

Think of the rats!

Animal rights activists slammed Borough President Eric Adams for the gruesome publicity stunt he pulled outside Borough Hall on Thursday, when he displayed about a dozen drowned rats to reporters to promote his new “humane” rat trap.

“Any veterinarian in the world would tell you that drowning is an incredibly inhumane way to kill a mammal,” wrote members of the Brooklyn organization, Voters for Animal Rights, in a letter to Adams. “Cheerleading for the killing of living animals sends a dangerous and destructive message.”

The borough president’s Sept. 5 press conference was intended to demonstrate the success of his new favorite rat trap, which lures rodents with sunflower seeds into a vat of alcohol, intoxicating the vermin and eventually drowning them. But while Adams, himself a vegan, hailed the traps as “humane” because of their rapid rat-killing abilities and the boozy delirium they induce, activists argued that the contraptions cause the rodents undue suffering.

“Rats are intelligent, sentient animals who feel pain, and suffer, just like all other animals,” the activists wrote in the letter, signed by dozens of animal rights and veganism advocates. “Rats live emotionally rich lives, form strong inter-species bonds, have rituals, and mourn family losses.”

Rather than kill the rats, the animal lovers proposed that the city work to improve rat-proof infrastructure, implement sterilization programs, and even teach residents to see the bright side of life with rats and live in harmony with the pesky critters.

“It is unrealistic and impractical, if not absurd, to think New York City’s entire rat population can be eradicated,” the activists wrote. “Just as humans can coexist with squirrels, birds, and other wildlife elsewhere in our city, we can and must strive to tolerate the presence of rats to some degree.”

The advocates are also peeved about being left out of Adams’ rat-catching plan, saying they could have told him to abandon the scheme months ago and saved everybody the trouble — especially the rats!

“The lack of inclusion of the animal advocacy community about your decision, coupled with your office’s dismissive response to our reaction, has been very disappointing and frankly unacceptable. Had you invited us into the planning stages, this conflict could have been avoided,” they wrote.

Adams responded to the angry activists by saying that, while he believes in funding research for alternative traps, the health concerns that the rodents pose require immediate action.

“While we embrace fast-tracking research on alternative rat mitigation measures such as sterilization, human lives – including children and the elderly – are at risk and we need a more effective approach to addressing this exploding infestation,” Adams said.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams