Brooklyn borough president’s dead rat display was ‘sadistic,’ animal rights advocates say

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams displays a new, battery-operated device designed to capture rats on Sept. 5. Photo Credit: Maya Rajamani

Borough President Eric Adams last week showed reporters a container of dead rats that had been drowned in a trap.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams displays a new, battery-operated device designed to capture rats on Sept. 5.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams displays a new, battery-operated device designed to capture rats on Sept. 5. Photo Credit: Ethel’s Club

The Brooklyn Borough President should have thought twice before “parading” a slew of dead rats in front of reporters last week, a group of animal rights organizations say.

Borough President Eric Adams last week said traps set up around Brooklyn Borough Hall had killed a total of 107 rats during a monthlong pilot program.

Some of the rats — which a representative for the company that makes the traps said were lured with sunflower seeds and nuts before being knocked out with a “water-alcohol based solution” and drowned — were scooped out and displayed to reporters outside Borough Hall during a press conference that Voters for Animal Rights, NYCLASS and others on Monday described as “grotesque.”

While Adams and his team claimed the traps were humane, the groups said that was not the case.

“We are genuinely sympathetic to your office’s concerns about rats, and acknowledge that this is a difficult and complex issue,” the groups wrote in a letter sent to Adams on Monday. “However, we are disturbed by the apparent ease and lack of misgivings in your parading of a cruel rat drowning device.”

“Drowning animals is barbaric and parading their lifeless bodies around as trophies to the press is sadistic,” Voters for Animal Rights added in a statement.

Adams, who is vegan, said he was putting his “personal feelings” aside to address a “crisis.” He hopes to see the traps set up throughout the city as part of an expanded pilot program.

In their letter, however, the groups implored him to explore humane alternatives like “fertility control contraception and sterilization for rats,” which “has yet to be widely implemented in New York City, despite its availability.”

“Cheerleading for the killing of living animals sends a dangerous and destructive message, especially to children, as it encourages violence against animals, which is linked to increased violence against other people,” the groups wrote.

In a statement provided to amNewYork Monday, Adams stood by the traps, noting that 200 people showed up at a rat summit at Bed Stuy Restoration Corporation last year and shared stories about “rats terrorizing their communities.”

“While we embrace fast-tracked research on alternative rat mitigation measures such as sterilization, human lives — including children and the elderly — are at risk, and we need a more effective approach to addressing this exploding infestation,” he said.

Maya Rajamani