Animal-rights group PETA is alarmed that New York City is combatting its surging rat population by employing a clever new trap baited with Oreo cookies, saying the creatures are “simply trying to live their lives.”
The Italian-made traps in question have been endorsed by Mayor-elect Eric Adams and are reportedly being used increasingly by New York businesses to help stop an infestation that has been blamed for rising cases of the bacterial infection leptospirosis. Reports of rat sightings are up about 40% this year, at more than 21,000 as of last month.
Enter the new trap, a battery-controlled device housed in a green metal box. Rats are lured through holes into a top compartment – US distributor Rat Trap Distribution recommends peanut butter Oreos and sunflower seeds as the best bait – then dropped into a catch basin filled with an alcohol-based formula that knocks them unconscious.
The system is getting rave reviews from restaurateurs and other users, as reported by the New York Times on Friday, and about 175 traps have been installed in the city. Rat Trap Distribution boasted this week of finding 17 rats in a single catch basin. Customers lease the traps for $250 a month.
However, PETA has taken issue with the rat-trapping effort, telling the Times that the city should focus on cleaning up garbage and sealing entry points, “not finding new ways to torment and kill small animals who are simply trying to live their lives, just like any other New Yorker.”
17 Rats 🐀 in the trap pic.twitter.com/3H84hTfJqn
PETA’s personification of New York’s thriving rodents apparently spurred little sympathy on social media. “Excuse me, PETA, but the rats I see on the subway never pay the fare,” one Twitter user said.
Could Oreo Cookies Solve New York’s Rat Problem? https://t.co/QQlNQGS7Gu@nytimesExcuse me PETA but the rats I see on the subway never pay the fare. 👇 pic.twitter.com/GoR9s2TE8F