Friday, October 12, 2018

Rats! They're Everywhere!

The Cinemaholic, November 06, 2017

If Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007) can make rats appear so delightfully endearing – I can appreciate that Paris Animaux Zoopolis, an animal rights group that aims to defend all animals regardless of whether humans like them or not – are doing their utmost to save the reviled rodents from certain genocide. 

The organization launched what is probably the world’s first public relations campaign to persuade people that rats have feelings too, and that they should learn to love them.

The Telegraph, UK, October 07, 2018

“Stop the massacre of rats” is the slogan on posters on the walls of dozens of metro stations, which show pictures of the cute omnivores and declare that the rodents “are sensitive individuals” which can “feel emotions”! 

[Note: Rats (Scientific name Rattus rattus) belong to the Class Mammalia, Order Rodentia, Family Muridae and Genus Rattus].

The outfit’s secretary Philippe Reigné insisted that “rats should not be seen as synonymous with filth” – and arguing that Paris authorities are as motivated by the damage rats cause to the image of the world’s most visited city as they are about hygiene issues. 

He added that these lovable vermin help reduce rubbish by eating at least seven kilos of rubbish over their lifespan, which is about a year. 

“It is hypocritical to say the campaign to exterminate rats in Paris is a matter of public health”, he maintained. After all, there has not been a sudden explosion in their population in the French capital, he contended. 

The Paris rat population is estimated to outnumber by a factor of two to one the total number of human inhabitants, which is 2.2 million (while the total population of the Paris agglomeration is around 12 million). 

The more visible presence of these scavenging pests over the past couple of years – which has led to shock headlines across the world – is due to flooding and to major infrastructure works that forced many of the rodents to leave their usual haunts and run around streets and parks.

A rat eats pieces of bread thrown by tourists near the Pont-Neuf bridge over the river Seine in Paris, France. Image credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

The alleged infestation first came to public attention in late 2016 amid an outcry from Parisians that they could no longer frequent some of the city parks due to the marauding rodents. 

City Hall responded by declaring war on the pests, closing off a string of parks and gardens and laying a host of “environmentally friendly” traps and poisons as well as blocking off sewer entrances. 

This summer city authorities said a total of 4,950 anti-rat operations had taken place between January 2018 and July 2018 compared to 1,700 the previous year. This saw 200 parks and 600 buildings treated against rats. 

The statistics look impressive but I’m sure the rats with their overwhelming numbers will still stay put in Paris! 

Yesterday, at lunchtime, I was at Jalan Yong Shook Lin in Petaling Jaya, Selangor to take up the role of Speech Evaluator at the IJM Toastmasters meeting. 

And it was a special speech delivered for a special occasion by Mathu. 

Oh yes, I was voted Best Speech Evaluator.

It’s always a pleasure to support this long-standing club – in fact, I’ve lost count how many years I’ve been attending their meetings.

No comments: