The Environmental Protection Agency has given Chicago permission to kill the city’s rat population with dry ice over the objection of animal rights groups.
City officials enacted the pilot program in August 2016 that used dry ice to suffocate rats underground. The policy was temporarily scuttled in December of that year after the city learned the EPA had not approved the program, officials said Tuesday.
“The dry ice method serves as a safe and quick approach that essentially puts rats to sleep before they perish,” Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams told reporters. It is an effective way to terminate the Chicago’s rats, most of which congregate in city parks.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared to mirror William’s position, calling the policy a “smarter and more effective” way of dealing with the city’s rodent problem.
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized the pilot program as inhumane. The policy also requires city officials to place bait boxes around the city holding poisons that render rodents infertile.
Officials in the city’s sanitation department will also place “Target Rat” and “Don’t Feed the Rats” posters around the city to dissuade citizens from feeding rats. City crews also will distribute brochures advising Chicagoans on rodent control.
The policy could potentially cost the city about $250 per week to buy 500 pounds of dry ice this fall and again in the spring.
Chicago was forced to back off the program in December because of an administrative holdup at the EPA, Sara McGann, a spokewoman at the city’s sanitation department, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Complaints about rats are down 2.5 percent since January this year compared with the same period a year ago, according to McGann. The city has still not fully addressed its violent crime rate.
So far this year, 1,714 people have been shot compared to 1,790 people shot by this time in 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune crime tracker.
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