While most New Yorkers agree that the city’s rat population is more, er, vibrant than ever, there is significant debate over how exactly to reduce rodents around town – with some state lawmakers looking to ban the use of notorious glue traps.
A new bill introduced by Assembly Member Harvey Epstein and sponsored by State Senator Jabari Brisport proposes to ban production, sale, and implementation of glue traps, citing them as a slow, inhumane death.
“Glue traps do not instantly kill the rodent; rather, they slowly die over the course of several days due to starvation, dehydration, and exhaustion,” stated the justification section of the proposal. “The glue used is also extremely toxic, and burns the animals’ skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. They will often rip off their own skin and fur, cause self-inflicted injuries, and chew their own limbs off trying to escape.”
The legislators also argued that glue traps were not as useful as other, quicker pest traps. “In addition to being unnecessarily cruel, glue traps are also less effective than other methods of rodent capture, like snap trapping. A study conducted by the University of Nebraska found that snap traps captured a total of fifty-four mice per ninety-six traps for a total capture rate of 56.2%, whereas glue traps captured only four mice, for a total capture rate of just 8.3%. This is partially because glue traps are often exposed to dust, humidity, and temperature changes, rendering the adhesive ineffective,” added the legislators.
They contend that the traps pose a health and safety threat — and not just to mice (beware, friendly bodega cats!). “The CDC recommends against the use of glue traps, since rodents who are caught in them are likely to urinate, defecate, or bleed which may contain germs that expose humans to diseases,” they added. “Additionally, because glue traps are indiscriminate, other animals like birds and house pets are often accidentally caught in them.”
Glue traps may not be New York’s answer to the rodent population boom, but as rat and mice sightings exponentially increase around the Big Apple, leaders are looking for an effective solution – and fast. Menacing to street parkers, outdoor diners and of course, the trash cans of New York City, rats have forced the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to consider creative solutions for curbing the “rat nightclub.” The DSNY is currently proposing a later trash take-out time to limit the amount of time available for rodents to root through the city’s refuse as Mayor Eric Adams launches a pilot program to install rat-proof trash containers throughout Midtown.
While a potential glue trap ban must pass through several committee approvals before it reaches the Governor’s desk, Epstein and Brisport hope that the legislation will respect the rat’s long-standing reputation as New York’s unofficial mascot: “Mice and rats are highly intelligent, social animals, who experience pain and distress. The use of glue traps is one of the most inhumane methods of capturing rodents. The sale, production and use of glue traps should be banned entirely in New York State.”