Absurd law raises eyebrows

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

The Occupy movement in Washington, D.C., has become plagued with rats, and a recent D.C. health code may cause problems for Virginia and Maryland.

Most people assumed the Occupy movement came and went like any other short-lived fad but, it is still alive.

In D.C.’s McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza hundreds of protesters have gathered, and health officials report that the rat population has erupted.

There are major health risks for people living in such squalid conditions. The close proximity of the tents and the lack of plumbing have turned the parks into slums. Rats complicate the problem even more.

The city of D.C. has adopted the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010, an absurd law regarding pest control. It calls for relocation instead of extermination of vermin.

Pest control experts are no longer allowed to use any type of kill trap or traditional methods of rat eradication like poisons, glue traps or spring traps. Instead they are supposed to use no kill traps which are designed solely for capture. Another stipulation of the law is that they must capture entire rat families. Captured rats are to be released in the wild, at least 25 miles from the site they were captured to insure that they do not make their way back.

The law is complete oversight on the part of the city government. D.C. city council member Mary M. Cheh, who sponsored the bill, clearly does not take her job seriously or refuses to research before creating laws. The idea of removing entire rat families is preposterous. The law was either designed to prevent proper pest control or was meant to be ignored.

There is good reason rats are considered vermin. They can survive in almost any environment, live without water longer than a camel, and reproduce quickly.

The worst part about rats however is that they carry disease. During the Middle Ages they were infamous for transmitting fleas that carried the bubonic plague.

Today they still carry a number of diseases including rabies, tuberculosis, Lyme disease and Weils disease.

For good reason, rats are exterminated. There is no need to be unnecessarily cruel about it, but there should be an efficient way to get rid of the animals. Otherwise they will pose a serious health risk.

It is bad enough that the law is completely inefficient, but it is worse still that the policy would require D.C. to pass off its problems to Virginia and other surrounding states.

It is aggravating that the government assumes that it can just pass off its problems to other states.

When the government makes laws like this it discourages people. It’s hard to have faith in a government that mismanages the little things like this pesky animal problem. Maybe they shouldn’t worry so much about getting the animals off the street and get the people off first.

Washington, D.C., needs to take responsibility for its actions. They did not deal with the Occupy protests, and it caused a rat problem. Now they want Maryland and Virginia to deal with the problem? All of this could have been avoided with some common sense and a little courtesy.

The Occupy protesters have not made any headway in attaining their goals. Instead, they have managed to cause a rat infestation and have exposed an absurd and painfully impractical policy.

Maybe the silver lining here is that people will realize how ridiculous some animal rights initiatives really are. Or Maybe if the citizens of D.C. are lucky, the rats will force the Occupy protesters out.


Author: Ethan Mitra

Bio info coming soon!

Share This Post On


Commenting Policy
We welcome your comments on news and opinions articles, provided that they allowed by our Commenting Policy.