Rats, pigeons, sparrows, stray cats… so many animals considered harmful today by city dwellers. Regularly associated with the dirt associated with urban waste, these animals have been systematically sidelined by public policies over time.
It is with the aim of raising awareness on this issue that 41 elected officials from all over France have launched an appeal to presidential candidates through a forum in the Obs. Initiated by the Paris Animals Zoopolis association, this text aims to encourage the development of non-lethal methods to limit the populations of these harmful animals and to give cities the means to coexist peacefully with these animals.
Jean-Marie Goater, deputy delegate for local democracy for the city of Rennes, is with the Morbihannais Serge Buchet, one of the two Breton elected officials to have signed this text. He denounces the excessive recourse to means of extermination to treat these animals.
“We must change our outlook and question this notion of harmful,” says the elected environmentalist. “There is a real stake in the regulation of these populations and this should not systematically go through a lethal solution. Animal suffering must be reduced and these issues must be taken into account in public policies. There may be laws to regulate certain practices”.
In the forum, the elected officials recall “that 89% of the French population attaches importance to the animal cause”, therefore “to exclude preliminary animals from policies would be a mistake”. “At a time of the sixth mass extinction and a growing awareness of the animal cause, it is time to build a society that will seriously protect liminal animals and their habitats”, concludes the text.
Favor soft solutions
For Jean-Marie Goater, we must favor softer solutions in the future. “We see that techniques like poison don’t really work against rats, they end up getting used to it. In Rennes, we are going to experiment with certain solutions such as the use of ferrets to flush out rodents, or even the installation of a contraceptive dovecote in the Maurepas district. It is true that proliferation must be avoided, but by means other than lethal elimination”.
The end of the proliferation of these animals in urban centers also seems to have to go through a modification of human practices. “It is too easy to abandon food waste on the public highway”, notes the Rennes elected official. “There is a multiplication of these phenomena and this promotes the development of rat populations. We also have to work on that, there are a lot of behaviors to change”.
In Rennes, a charter on the animal condition in the city should see the light of day in 2022. Several working groups have taken place in recent months and the first results will be presented during the Les Animaux et Nous forum on March 5 at the Carrefour 18 social center in reindeer. Discussions will address various topics concerning the place of these animals in the city.