Rat Out Rodenticides and Save Urban Wildlife

In Switzerland, between 500 000 and 1.5 million rats are affected by the widespread use of rodenticides every year. These harmful chemicals are meant to keep rat populations under control. Yet, there is little evidence of these methods’ efficacy; and they may even be counterproductive. The “humane” containment of rat populations may be sensible and socially desirable; however, the agonising elimination of thousands of individuals is not a sustainable and effective way of doing so.

Anticoagulant rodenticides prevent blood clotting and cause rats to experience a painful death over the course of several days. They are left to die on the streets, convulsing and trembling, as blood comes out of their mouth and nose. Yet, rats are …

… not the only ones affected by rodenticides. These substances also harm wild animals like birds, foxes, fish, and even companion animals such as dogs and cats. It does not stop there, rodenticides can also have severe unintended consequences for humans – especially young children.

Rats’ suffering is often overlooked and hardly ever discussed in public debate. The common discourse which claims that rats pose a health hazard to humans is mainly based on prejudices and outdated assumptions. Considering rats’ intelligence and social nature, the way we treat them is more than unfair. At Sentience, we are convinced that there are more humane ways of co-existing with rats and other non-human city dwellers. That is why we are calling for a reconsideration of rodent population management methods.

Help us by signing our petition today and become a voice for the invisible residents of our cities.

3'299out of 4'000 signatures
Adrian Thomas L.vor 49 Minuten
Anne L.vor 53 Minuten
Anita K.vor 1 Stunde
Jeanette F.vor 1 Stunde
Anna V.vor 2 Stunden
Yvonne R.vor 2 Stunden
I help rats
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Petition

1

Development of a phase-out plan to replace rodenticides with more humane methods of rat population management

2

Raising awareness on measures and methods that prevent rat overpopulation

3

Restrictions on the sale and use of smoke or gas cartridges, which kill rats by asphyxiation and other sufferings

4

Ban on the sale and use of anticoagulant rodenticides, which cause a painful death from internal haemorrhage in rats

5

Ban on the sale and use of rodenticides containing zinc phosphide, which leave rats with breathing difficulties, seizures, circulatory weakness, abdominal pain and bloody vomiting

Supporting organisations

Starting point

Rodents are sentient beings; they feel pain, suffering, regret but also pleasure, joy, empathy, and even laughter: rats giggle when tickled! Rats display signs of complex social structures, with hierarchies between young and elders. Despite scientific evidence in favour of rats’ intelligence, they are still subjected to great suffering daily. Their dignity is flouted, and they do not have the legal protection of other vertebrates.

Concerns for public health and …

… infrastructure damage, topped with prejudices against rats, led governments and municipalities to launch large-scale extermination campaigns to control rodent populations. These measures rely heavily – if not solely – on rodenticides. Yet, rodenticides often prove ineffective due to various factors: rats may build up resistance to specific types over time, inadequate doses can lead to suffering without death. Moreover, rats’ neophobic tendencies may result in their avoidance of consuming rodenticides, as well as staying away from traps. When ingested, these substances leave rats to experience a slow and painful death – characterised by internal bleeding, respiratory failure, as well as excruciating abdominal, joint and muscular pain.

Whilst the (humane) containment of rat populations may be sensible and socially desirable, we have a responsibility to ensure that interventions are both effective in the long term, and as painless as possible for non-human animals. At Sentience, we believe that rats’ unnecessary suffering must be avoided; which is why we are asking for the development of a phase-out plan to replace rodenticides with more humane methods of population management.

Challenges

Rodenticides can pose serious environmental hazards because they degrade very slowly, and they can have unintended consequences for non-target species. Moreover, these chemicals present a threat to humans and their companion animals’ health through direct exposure (accidental ingestion, inhaling or skin contact), and can cause immense suffering – notably severe abdominal, joint and muscular pain, as well as respiratory difficulties. Ethically speaking, the widespread use of rodenticides and the minute concern about the consequent suffering of rats are alarming.

The way cities are built often make us believe that there is a clear separation between nature and urban life. Yet, the presence of rats, pigeons, and other non-human animals that have adapted to urban habitats over time, tells us otherwise. Rats play various roles in urban ecosystems: for instance, as waste recyclers or as seed spreaders when they roam through urban green spaces. By learning more about rats’ needs and by understanding how we can best co-exist with them, we can identify better methods of population management.

Solutions

Alternatives to rodenticides and other cruel traps exist, and they have proven to be effective to manage rodent populations. Fertility control via contraceptives is one of them. “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) is also a promising avenue to explore. This holistic method involves various strategies, including proper waste management, the elimination of food supplies and harbourage, as well as rodent exclusion and relocation. Combined, these methods have the potential to keep rat populations in check and to contribute to a more peaceful co-existence between humans and rodents in cities.

Individually, you can sign our petition today and help us to promote the political discourse on the use of rodenticides and the general handling of rats. A single signature may feel like nothing, but a well-supported petition serves as a powerful demonstration of your concern and commitment to urban rat welfare.

Sign our petition now, and become an advocate for rats!

Kampagne Unsichtbare Tiere

This petition is part of the “Invisible Animals” campaign

The “Invisible Animals” campaign has emerged from the understanding that the interests and needs of pigeons, rats, bees and fish receive little to no attention, both politically and socially.

The goal of our campaign is to bring the daily suffering of these animals into the spotlight because, at Sentience, we are convinced that even minor adjustments to the political framework can have a significant positive effect: for the animals, the environment as well as public health.

Together, we can make the suffering of “invisible” animals visible and ensure that their interests receive stronger political consideration now and in the future. It all starts with your signature.